Freedom—April 8, 2019—Financial issues have again delayed the reconstruction of the Ossipee River Dam. That’s according to the state’s chief engineer, Jim Gallagher, who told Ossipee Lake Alliance the hoped-for spring start of work to replace the aging complex is now off the table.
While it’s still possible that construction could begin this summer, a start date is contingent on finding additional money for the project. At issue is $1.5 million, which is the difference between the $4.9 million the state appropriated last year and the new projected cost of $6.4 million.
At an Alliance forum last August, Gallagher announced that the project, which was first proposed in 2009, was finally funded and work could begin as early as this spring. He cautioned, however, that a number of things had changed since the state gave the project a green light earlier that year.
One change was the federal government’s imposition of steel import tariffs, which put the cost of the dam gates in flux relative to the budget. Gallagher also said the approved funding had a two-year ‘use it or lose it’ provision, and construction would likely extend beyond that timeline.
Nonetheless, Gallagher remains hopeful for a 2019 start. In an email exchange with the Alliance, he said the Governor included the additional $1.9 million in his ‘trailer bill’ to the 2020-21 budget (HB2).
The House bill does not have the additional funds allocated, but Gallagher said the money might be restored when the budget goes to the Senate for consideration later this month.
Meanwhile, the state is moving ahead to solicit bids on the project, which are due by 2 p.m. on May 3. Prospective bidders must attend a mandatory meeting at the dam on April 11 at 10 a.m.