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July 17, 2008
Emergency access road receives support
Road would connect Route 101 to middle, high schools
BEDFORD, New Hampshire (STPNS) -- BEDFORD ? A proposed emergency access road that would connect the Lurgio Middle and Bedford High schools to Route 101 received support from the planning board this week.
On Tuesday night, planners said they would back the school district?s initiative to create a 300-foot emergency access-driveway on Chestnut Drive to tie in with the highway.
The funds to build the road were approved in March, when voters passed Article 2 on the school ballot by a vote of 2,517-589. The article raised $445,000 to build the road, of which $275,000 was to come from an existing land reserve fund and the remaining $170,000 from taxation. The tax impact is an estimated 5 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation.
Chalant Development Corp. sold the land to the district for $275,000; approximately three times the appraised value ($87,000) provided by Northboro, Mass.-based Vision Appraisal Technology. In 1997, Chalant bought the 1.3-acre plot of land for $75,000.
The school district opted to buy from Chalant because it was the shortest access point and other alternatives would have been cost-prohibitive.
Tony Grande, a traffic engineering consultant with Bedford-based Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, representing the school district, said Chestnut Drive is ?very flat? in sections, but it does have an 8- to 9-percent grade and gets steeper at the curved portion of the roadway.
Based on previous discussions with the police and fire chiefs, Grande said the driveway would be widened ?to accommodate two larger vehicles passing simultaneously? including fire trucks and school buses.
Various town departments have also reached a consensus concerning a 400-foot stretch of road along Chestnut Drive that needs additional work because ?it has fallen into disrepair,? said Grande.
?That is a town road, but the town does not have any current plans to upgrade that facility,? he said. ?We?ve worked with the town to try and ? accommodate that request to upgrade and widen the road for two-way traffic and to construct the driveway as well.?
The 22-foot-wide driveway would be gated at all times, and it would have a two-foot wide gravel shoulder on each side, said Grande.
?My understanding is ? an emergency vehicle would be able to come in here, access the locks on the gate, go through to the second gate to open that one as well and proceed to the school,? he said.
When planners asked whether the road could be used by pedestrians, Grande said the possibility is there, especially if kids use it as a shortcut. Superintendent of Schools Tim Mayes said the district has taken steps to discourage foot traffic in that area during school hours.
Grande said work to install the new driveway would begin this year.
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