A cascade of tumbled-down stone surrounds the opening of the culvert at Bunker Hill and Alder Shore Roads, which is slated for replacement in early
August. (Tim Badgley photo)
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By Dominik Lobkowicz and Tim Badgley
The replacement of a culvert 12 feet underneath Bunker Hill Road in Newcastle will close the road to through traffic for up to 72 hours starting Tuesday, Aug. 5, according to
Department of Transportation officials.
Mike Burns, manager of the Department of Transportation’s Region 2, said the DOT contracted out the culvert replacement to N.F. Luce Inc., of Anson, and gave the
company a maximum of 72 hours straight to close the road for the project.
“We have an existing 24-inch culvert across the road that is failed and we’re going to replace it with a 36-inch concrete culvert, so this one will last much longer
than the existing metal one,” Burns said. The work will also include widening the road there slightly and the installation of a guard rail, he said.
As an incentive to meet the deadline, “for every hour over the 72 hours the road is closed, the contractor will be charged $250,” Burns said. “We really think he’ll
get it done before the 72 hours, but that’s the window we’ve given him for the work.”
The area of closure itself will be in Newcastle, about 1.2 miles north of the intersection of Bunker Hill Road (Route 213) and Jones Woods Road (Route 215), Burns
Local traffic on the road will be allowed during the closure, according to DOT spokesman Ted Talbot.
The detour will utilize the same roads whether headed north or south.
For those heading south, the detour will be via Gardiner Road (Route 126) to South Clary Road (Route 215), turning into Ridge Road, and a left turn onto Jones Woods
Heading north, the detour will follow Jones Woods Road, right onto Ridge Road turning into South Clary Road, and then a right onto Gardiner Road, back to Bunker Hill
The detour route will be clearly posted, according to Talbot.
“We do understand that this is a real inconvenience for folks that use [Route] 213,” Burns said.
Several factors went into the decision to have the road closed during the replacement, including both the cost and the length of time for the culvert replacement.
The alternative to closing the road would be putting sheathing into the cut to keep half the road open to traffic, Burns said.
“We chose not do that because of the extra cost, and that would lengthen the time we’re on site,” Burns said. Keeping the road open would mean crews would be there
for several weeks and the project would be more than double the $29,500 price tag, he said.
“We’re trying to balance traveler impacts, they happen both ways, but we’re just asking people to be patient. We’ll get it reopened as soon as possible, and we
understand the impacts. That’s why we put the penalty in,” Burns said.