By GAIL OBER, LACONIA DAILY SUN
GILFORD — It was the road not taken.
And Wednesday night residents from the upper portion of Sagamore Road piled into town hall to complain that their road is not being considered for reconstruction in this summer's construction season.
Led by resident Howard Epstein, the attendees told selectmen that their road was unsafe and down to one paved lane for traffic in one place. He said one resident was nearly run off the road by a emergency vehicle because there was only one paved lane for both of them.
Others said the road should be a priority for safety reasons because it's windy and hilly with very little line of sight in places.
Epstein produced documentation that, as of June 26, 2015, Sagamore Road was scheduled for the 2016-17 season. He also said that every time it rains, a little more of upper Sagamore Road slides down the mountain.
Public Works Director Peter Nourse told the board he would not support changing the long-range five year plan, which has upper Sagamore scheduled to be reconstructed in 2018. After an hour-long unscheduled public hearing, selectmen agreed with him.
Nourse told the board that at the end of the 2015 season, the town was out of money and it paved only the lower portion of Sagamore.
As for upper Sagamore, he said "It is passable for two vehicles but not two vehicles on pavement." He added that some other roads in town that are a higher priority have no pavement left in certain places.
He said he and the Gunstock Acres Water District have been coordinating road construction with pipe construction and, to the best of his knowledge, upper Sagamore Road had relatively few water leaks as compared to other roads in Gunstock acres.
He said decent material must be used to build up upper Sagamore Road and that it will be a significant project planned for 2018. He mentioned the possibility of a shim and overlay but said he's not sure it would last for a significant enough amount of time to justify it.
When questioned, Nourse and selectmen said the process they used to determine which poor roads in a town with lots of poor roads get fixed first is based on multiple variables including traffic, the number of residents that live on it, the town's need to spread the wealth to all sections and whether or not it is a connector road.
When asked by selectmen what road they would sacrifice if it were up to them, most of those who answered said Foxglove Road but at least one said Old Lake Shore Road.
Selectmen asked Nourse to continue on the ongoing road projects like Mountain Road, one-half of Edgewater Drive and Saltmarsh Pond Road and report back to them on if he can project any surplus. At that point the board said it would consider the request.
Board members also told the Sagamore Road residents that potholes and washouts will still be repaired from the maintenance budget.
Gilford selectmen were confronted by a crowd of people concerned about paving plans for Sagamore Road on Wednesday evening. (Gail Ober/Laconia Daily Sun)
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