Freedom—November 8, 2019—At a special meeting this morning, the Freedom Select Board selected Earth Construction of Pittsfield, N.H., as the contractor for the long-delayed replacement of Danforth Brook Bridge on Ossipee Lake Road.
The winning bid from the state-certified firm was $1,189,260. Freedom will pay 20% of the cost, and the remainder will be covered by the state. H.E. Bergeron is the project’s engineering firm.
Bergeron will establish the work schedule within a window of April through October, according to a board member. “Low water flow” months, when work conditions are ideal, begin in June; but work could commence earlier depending on weather factors such as snowmelt.
For the duration of the construction, Danforth Pond boaters will lose river access to Ossipee Lake, and the bridge will be reduced to a single lane of alternating one-way car traffic. During the first 48 hours of construction, the bridge will be closed entirely for project personnel to set up.
The town decided in 2011 to replace the bridge rather than repair it, but the project has repeatedly been delayed for lack of state funding. The structure was built in 1925 and is long past its 50-year life expectancy.
A large group of Danforth Pond property owners organized last month as the Concerned Citizens of Danforth Bay in order to obtain information about the project and express their concerns about the impact to boaters and businesses.
Some of the questions they raised with the Select Board at its October 28th meeting were answered today with the award of the contract to Earth Construction, including the now-confirmed potential for work to begin earlier than June if the weather permits.
The Select Board also confirmed that the bridge’s single lane of traffic will be 11 ft. wide, which should accommodate camping trailers headed to and from Danforth Pond’s campgrounds. The town said it will establish an emergency services plan for the 48 hours when both lanes of the bridge will be closed.
There were other safety concerns expressed at the October 28 meeting. Danforth Pond property owner Karen Hudson said she is worried about people carrying full gas cans in their cars because they can’t access the lake’s marinas.
Another resident, Patricia Laspisa, speculated that boats sequestered on Danforth Pond could create dangerous over-crowding. She asked the town to request a dedicated Marine Patrol officer for Danforth for the duration of the construction.
Perhaps speaking for many, Frank Lalumiere said there is a lot of uncertainty among Danforth Pond property owners. He said he fears that those who rent their property will lose rental income after boaters learn they cannot use the river to access the bays and big lake beyond.