Young advocacy pays off in safety along Route 16
|Published: 11-29-2023 12:02 PM
ERROL — The concern and efforts of two children, working in concert with their teacher and other adults, has resulted in a safety measure on Route 16 along a section of the Androscoggin River that has claimed the lives of motorists this North Country town.
Earlier this year, Skye Lariviere, 12, and her brother, Cohen Lariviere, 9, were passengers in the car driven by their parents along Route 16 when they came upon an accident and traffic was stopped. The accident proved fatal and left the two Lariviere youngsters with thoughts of how this could be prevented.
Skye and Cohen spoke with their teacher, Heidi Holt, who later contacted state Rep. Arnie Davis of Milan and District 1 Executive Councilor Joe Kenney. Kenney’s work for District 1, one of the state’s largest geographic areas, includes Errol.
Now, a long stretch of new guard rail wraps around that curve on Route 16, which was described as being the spot where at least six vehicles over several decades have gone off the road and into the churning water, resulting in drivers’ deaths.
Now, this area offers more protection for motorists as they make their way to and from Errol.
“It was very exciting to know it would be safer for everyone,” said Skye Lariviere.
Cohen Lariviere agreed.
“We’re very thankful and blessed that they listened to us and made it happen,” said Skye and Cohen’s mother, Laney Pouliot.
Kenney, standing with the small group on a sunny Nov. 16 by the fast-flowing river, spoke of the children’s impact on getting the project completed.
“Obviously, having the young people provide their input and advocacy put a face on an issue,” Kenney said. “It makes it easier to go back to the DOT and say that we need to move this project as quickly as possible.”
To thank the adults who helped them, Cohen and Skye made thank you cards for their teacher, now retired after a 36-year career as an educator, plus Davis and Kenney.
David Rodgrigue, assistant commissioner of the N.H. Department of Transportation, helped the project move forward, said Kenney.
“Hopefully now it will slow people down,” said Pouliot.
On average, the cost per linear foot for a metal guardrail can range from $10 to $30, according to website roadskyguardrail.com, with installation costs higher, at $500 to $1,500 per linear foot. This is a general cost, and not site specific.
The stretch of Route 16, driving into Errol, features a “Washout Ahead” sign that alerts drivers to a place where the level of the roadway can be equal to the height of the river at times. In nearby Milan, in previous years, a washout has happened, such as near a boat launching site.
Kenney told Skye and Cohen to never doubt that their inquisitiveness to solve a problem could lead to successful results.
“Don’t stop your advocacy for this stretch of the road,” Kenney said of Route 16 leading into Errol.These articles are being shared by partners in The Granite State News Collaborative. For more information visit collaborativenh.org.