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Officials expect traffic delays due to Route 12A sewer upgrades

  • Traffic is limited to one lane due to construction on a section of South Main Street in West Lebanon, N.H., on Monday, June 14, 2021. The project, which will replace and separate the sewer, storm drainage, and water lines, is expected to last until November. (Valley News / Report For America - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Alex Driehaus

  • Scott Cote, of Keene, N.H., directs traffic on a section of South Main Street in West Lebanon, N.H., on Monday, June 14, 2021. (Valley News / Report For America - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Valley News / Report For America photographs — Alex Driehaus

VALLEY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Published: 6/14/2021 10:07:22 PM
Modified: 6/14/2021 10:07:25 PM

WEST LEBANON — Construction crews on Monday started work on a major utility project along Route 12A between Glen Road and Seminary Hill in a four-month project that city officials say could lead to lengthy delays for motorists during the week.

From 7 am to 5 pm on weekdays, there will be active work on South Main Street on a 1,400-foot stretch from Enterprise Rent-A-Car to just past Romano Circle. The construction began Monday morning with alternating one-way traffic and signs announcing long wait times.

Subway manager Justin Cacilhas isn’t too bothered, noting that he’s from Massachusetts.

“We see it all, “ Cacilhas said of his home state. “You don’t put Band-Aids on it, you actually put improvements to everything.”

But West Lebanon Feed and Supply owner Curt Jacques is concerned that he’ll lose customers.

“It was bad enough when the pandemic came… they ended up going to online sales,” said Jacques. “(The construction) just added another inconvenience. They’re going to drive business away. It’s sad, but I understand too that there’s work to do.”

The construction company hired by the city, Notts Excavation Inc., also did the site work for West Lebanon Feed and Supply in 2007.

Jacques said he’s been following the company since then.

“They’re very efficient and very professional and I think they’re one of the best contractors the city could have picked, so that brings some comfort,” said Jacques. “but also… absolutely it will have an impact on business. We’ve got to do what we’ve got to do, and hopefully the city residents will continue to support businesses like ours.”

Another West Lebanon retailer, Country Cobbler owner Jeff Peavey, said the traffic backups could potentially increase business to his store.

“It can benefit me; it’s going to back traffic up my way,” said Peavey, “… but also those who are trying to get to me are going use (12A) , so it can go both ways.”

RE/MAX real estate professionals Jill and Gerry Stark said the construction will probably affect their personal lives more than their work. Jill Stark said her mother likes to go shopping “the old way,” coming down Main Street to avoid the interstate on her way to Hannaford and might end up changing her route to avoid traffic.

Traffic counts indicate that stretch of Route 12A carries more than 10,000 vehicles a day.

“This is the main shopping hub of the Upper Valley and there’s no good way to get here,” said Gerry Stark. “It’s going to be a mess.”

For those hoping to avoid long wait times, Glen Road to Seminary Hill Road is a good detour route, city officials said.

The city of Lebanon’s $73 million combined sewer overflow project that began in 2000 is in its last phase, said City Engineer Christina Hall. Mandated by the Environmental Protection Agency, the project is focused on separating sewage and water lines to keep sewage out of the river. Construction crews on the Route 12A project will be replacing stormwater drains, sewer and water lines, as well as doing a full-depth roadway reconstruction and making new sidewalks and curbing. Hall said there will be rain gardens added to the Romano Circle area, and drainage outfall at the river will be up-sized.

The cost of the project now underway is about $2.9 million, Hall said.

Keeping stormwater out of the sewage is also a benefit of the project. “It will save on energy because you’re not treating water that doesn’t need to be treated,” said Hall.

Affected businesses and residents at Romano Circle will be put on temporary water lines, Hall said, so there will be minimal water or sewage disruption.

Hall said a meeting is planned for Tuesday with Romano Circle residents to brief them on the project and to help keep children away from the heavy equipment.

Hall said she wanted to make sure commuters “know that... it’s going to be less intrusive” than a major project on Mechanic Street that finished construction about two years ago.

Along the work zone on Route 12A, there will be new pavement around November, according to Hall, and the final layer of pavement is planned to be added sometime next spring.

Jasmine Taudvin can be reached at jtaudvin@vnews.com.




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