October 10, 2018WOLFEBORO — The reconstruction of North Wolfeboro Road has been a point of controversy, with Claude Roessiger leading the way for The Society for the Preservation of Rural Wolfeboro, asking to be mindful of the road's scenic beauty, and the town wary of the demand for an 18 foot width, citing safety concerns.
Discussion was thorough at the Oct. 3 Board of Selectmen's meeting. Roessiger urged the town to respect the vote of residents along the road, the majority of whom expressed the wish for that width as a means to calm traffic, along with a chip sealed (gravel embedded in asphalt) finish, also said to induce slower driving. The group also recommended well contoured swales and good drainage.
Roessiger said of Public Works Director Dave Ford's recommendation of a 20 foot width to accommodate passage of fire trucks and rescue vehicles in the event of an emergency, "What is the likelihood of a fire?"
Dimond Corner resident Ken Perry spoke up to say that he has about 1,500 – 1,800 feet of frontage along the road, which currently has a width of 22 feet. In his view, he supports the town's suggested 20 foot width in the interest of safety.
Ford commented that the road leading to North Wolfeboro and Dimond Corner is 22 feet wide and up, and is heavily trafficked, and termed it a feeder road rather than a scenic road. When he has travelled the road and had to pass another truck, he gets a little nervous. Emergency vehicles use even more room. He urged a balance between traffic calming elements such as an 18 foot width and public safety.
Selectman Brad Harriman, who serves as Ossipee's Public Works Director, agreed with Ford that it is a feeder road rather than a rural road and added, "I strongly believe it should be 20 feet with two foot shoulders. A plow truck is 8 feet wide and a town truck is 10 feet wide."
At that point, Selectman Dave Bowers suggested leaving the existing widths as they are. Those that are wider would remain so.
Roessiger suggested that narrower widths would have the advantage of allowing wider swales and better drainage, but said he suspected 19 feet would be okay. Mark Diamond, speaking for the Society, said he would like to have a month to get more data to the others in the group.
Selectman Dave Senecal said he felt that a minimum 19 foot width is a reasonable compromise. A motion to that effect then passed.