LEBANON – A treacherous portion of Mechanic Street will get improved sidewalks after the City Council approved spending for the project on Wednesday.
The Slayton Hill Road-Mechanic Street intersection sidewalk project is Segment 2 of a larger 1.3-mile roadway corridor project taking place between Interstate 89 at Exit 19 and the intersection of Mechanic Street and High Street.
Some of the three-phase work has been completed, but this short middle section will run from about the Rivermill Commercial Center Westward to the intersection with Slayton Hill.
The intersection with Slayton Hill is at a crossroads to Neighborhoods on both sides of Mechanic Street and in a section of road that inside more than 14,000 vehicles per day, according to a 2019 traffic study, making the traffic volume comparable to more popular New Hampshire cities .
At the council’s most recent meeting, Councilor Karen Liot Hill spoke in favor of the proposal.
“We’ve been trying to tackle (pedestrian and bike) improvement as incrementally as we can,” Liot Hill said. “This is a chance to address a particularly problematic stretch on Mechanic Street.”
The council held a public hearing at its meeting and then voted to approve the project funding.
The total cost of the sidewalk work is expected to be $ 425,000, but $ 290,250 of that has been approved in the Congress’ Community Project Funding Request earmark process.
The council authorized moving the difference of $ 134,750 from the unassigned fund balance to complete the project.
In addition to the nearby Alice Peck Day Memorial Hospital, there is a just-opened 26-unit apartment complex at 195 Mechanic St. in that stretch of road.
Advance Transit’s red route will stop up and down Mechanic Street, but pedestrians don’t always have a sidewalk when walking in the area.
At the Jake’s Market & Deli location along that stretch of road, manager Dave Cotrupi, said while there are stretches of good sidewalk, other places have no sidewalks.
“There are certain areas up and down that are like that,” Cotrupi said. “All we do is get people walking on this street, people who live around here.”
Michele Miller, a receptionist at the nearby Valley Vision Eye Care, said there are a number of pedestrians routinely in the area.
“There’s a lot of people who walk and bus stops,” Miller said. “Those people are going to need to walk somewhere. Sidewalks would be important in this area. ”
Jay Cairelli, interim director of the Department of Public Works, said in a memo to the council that the federal funding required that the city must first appropriate the additional funding.
The project has received letters of support from the Upper Valley Business Alliance, Advance Transit, Lebanon Pedestrian and Bicyclists Advisory Committee, Upper Valley Lake Sunapee Regional Planning Commission, and Alice Peck Day Memorial Hospital, as well as Ed Kerrigan, the Developer of the 195 Mechanic St. complex.
The need for the sidewalk has been evident, according to a town report, including gaps in the current sidewalk and one section that requires pedestrians to walk in the roadway in places.
“There continues to be a critical, if not growing, need for pedestrian facilities between downtown Lebanon and West Lebanon, for which Route 4 / Mechanic Street is the main route,” Cairelli wrote in the memo.
City Manager Shawn Mulholland told the board last week the city has been told it received the grant but is waiting for official confirmation.
“We still don’t have anything in writing other than Congresswoman (Anne) Kuster’s office telling us we got the grant,” Mulholland said. “We don’t have a grant contract. We were supposed to get that information at the end of May. If the council approves this portion of the funding and we don’t get the funding, then I’ll be back in front of you again. ”
Darren Marcy can be reached at email@example.com or 802-291-4992.