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Route 12A section in Plainfield to stay open during washout repairs, but it’ll be one lane for months

  • New Hampshire Department of Transportation officials inspect a washout that closed the southbound lane of Route 12A in Plainfield, N.H., just north of the intersection with River Road due to the Connecticut River scouring away at the bank under the roadway Monday, April 22, 2019. From left are Dennis Ford, District 2 maintenance supervisor, Charles Dusseault, administrator of the materials and research bureau, Aaron Smart, geotechnical engineering supervisor, and Doug King, District 2 engineer. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.



Valley News Correspondent
Wednesday, May 15, 2019

PLAINFIELD — A section of Route 12A that’s been reduced to one lane since a washout last month will remain passable during repairs, New Hampshire Department of Transportation officials said on Wednesday night, but the fix won’t be over in a flash.

Officials told the Plainfield Selectboard that repairs from the washout of the bank along the Connecticut River near River Road and Route 12A would take three or four months and most likely would not begin until midsummer.

“We can maintain traffic at the existing location as it is today with the signals while construction takes place,” said Tobey Reynolds, of the department’s Highway Design division.

About 40 residents attended the Selectboard meeting, and many were concerned that Route 12A would need to be closed and secondary roads would be used as a bypass.

A portion of the riverbank was washed away during a deluge on April 21 that left the Connecticut River swollen with runoff and snowmelt.

Earlier this month, the Selectboard rejected a DOT proposal to use Stage Road and Route 120 as a detour during construction.

On Wednesday, DOT officials returned with a different plan. Reynolds said his two main goals are to keep Route 12A ope n and finish the work before winter. The southbound lane currently is closed for several hundred feet, and concrete barriers and a signal light control the flow of traffic.

Reynolds said the problem area will be shored up using boulders — some the size of a small car — to build the slope back up to the road level.

The section of embankment being restored is about 400 feet long and roughly 70 feet deep, he said.

The damaged portion of the roadway reaches just north of Riverbend Veterinary Clinic in Plainfield, near the Lebanon line.

Kevin Nyhan, administrator with DOT’s Bureau of Environment, said the Department of Environmental Services can take a few months to obtain all the necessary approvals and provide for the required public comment period.

Collis Adams of the Wetlands Bureau of the DES promised to work closely with the DOT to make the process as efficient as possible. Reynolds also said they would look to “compress” the period for bids advertising the work, which won’t be done by the DOT.

There was a suggestion on Wednesday that the road be shifted to the east, farther from the Connecticut River, but Reynolds said that would be difficult because of the steep slopes on that side.

He also said a ditch along the eastern side of the road would be improved with vegetation so runoff would pass through grass and a culvert first and not directly into the river.

After the meeting, Reynolds said the DOT regularly checks the stability of the roadway where the washout occurred to ensure it remains safe for vehicles.

Patrick O’Grady can be reached at pogclmt@gmail.com.