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Bow reaches settlement with Provan & Lorber, Gordon Construction over Dunklee Road bridge

Bow will receive nearly $200,000 through a settlement agreement it reached with two of the companies contracted to repair a bridge on Dunklee Road after it washed out during flooding in 2006.

Now, the town plans to seek funding from the state to repair the bridge that spans over Bow Bog Brook, which was red-listed by the New Hampshire Department of Transportation in 2008 just a few years after it was rebuilt. Reconstructing the bridge will cost about $727,000, according to engineering estimates provided to the town.

For the past several years, the town has been locked in litigation over the bridge.

In 2006, the town hired companies Provan & Lorber Inc. and Gordon Construction Inc. to rebuild the bridge and a culvert. The project cost about $500,000 but was mostly covered by federal and state aid.

A year after the bridge was rebuilt, Provan & Lorber – which acted as lead consultant and engineer for the project – sent the town a letter outlining various defects in the bridge. An independent engineering study, commissioned by the town in 2008, also found defects in the bridge’s design and construction, including leaking joints, unstable retaining walls and erosion along the side slopes. About that time, the DOT red-listed the bridge – still in use – and recommended action be taken.

Bow filed a lawsuit in 2009 against the companies, accusing them of negligence and breaching contracts, among other charges. The suit alleged the bridge and culvert were defectively designed and not well constructed.

Michie Corporation and SFC Engineering Partnership Inc., both subcontractors, settled separately with the town agreeing to pay $59,000. The remaining parties reached a settlement this year.

Under the agreement, Provan and Lorber Inc. will pay Bow $100,000 and Gordon Construction and North American Speciality will pay $79,200 by Oct. 1 of this year. It also absolves the companies’ liability.

Gordon Construction, based in Bow, is no longer in business. The company’s former owner, Vern Gordon, retired two years ago and said he had no comment on the settlement. John Dennehy, a Boston attorney representing Provan & Lorber, said he and his client are happy with the result.

The agreement hinges on whether Bow receives municipal bridge aid from the DOT to repair the Dunklee Road span. If Bow gets the funding, the settlement is final. But if Bow’s funding request is rejected, that could void the agreement and the town could bring new legal action against the companies.

In June, Bow filed a preliminary application with the DOT to start the bridge aid process, said Bow Town Manager David Stack. The repair’s estimated cost is about $727,500, according to DuBois and King, an engineering firm the town hired. The line-by-line estimate lists costs for excavations, removals of some existing structure and grading.

“It may not be a complete all the way down to the bottom rebuild,” Stack said. “That I understand is that it’s a substantial rehab.”

The town is hoping much of the funding will come from the state and the rest from the settlement, he said.

(Allie Morris can be reached at 369-3307 or at amorris@cmonitor.com.)

You think the Fire Station is expensive you wait until the town manager and selectmen are done with this one. Hang on to your wallets.

Interesting how Bow makes an agreement that if the companies pay a fine they are absolved from all liabilities “IF” the State (tax payers) will pick up the rest of the cost. #1 - why are the companies not paying the full cost to do the job right, if it was designed wrong then they should pay or if it was built wrong then they should pay #2 - why are the residents of BOW not picking up the extra cost. The federal government and the state (the taxpayers) already paid once and now Bow wants the State to pay again just to let these companies off the hook. This is a BOW issue, if the residents of BOW are happy to cover the cost then they can say that. If the state is called back into play the state should have the right to also sue and file charges (if warranted) against the parties.

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