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|Berlin Officially Opens Route 16 After Project|
|Published Thursday, May 17, 2018|
Local and state political and community leaders cut the ribbon to mark the completion of Berlin’s Route 16 improvement project. Left to right: Berlin City Councilor Peter Higbee, HEB Engineers President Jay Poulin, City Councilor Diana Nelson, NH Executive Councilor Joseph Kenney, Berlin Mayor Paul Grenier, Burgess BioPower Plant Manager David Walker, City Councilor Roland Theberge, and City Councilor Lucie Remillard.
Berlin Mayor Paul Grenier, NH Executive Councilor Joe Kenney, city officials, the county delegation, and community members marked the end of construction on Route 16 in Berlin last week, after a two-year, $7 million capital improvement project. Envisioned nearly 15 years ago, the project was made possible by payment-in-lieu-of-taxes (PILOT) from Burgess BioPower, which helped the city to secure additional financing for construction.
“Using innovative ways to fund needed and necessary projects shows Berlin’s resiliency and our commitment to the city’s future,” says Paul Grenier, Mayor of Berlin. “We see a bright future for Berlin, with a bustling downtown and thousands of visitors. To achieve that vision, we need to replace old, worn infrastructure with new public assets that include safety, function and aesthetics, all of which was accomplished in this one capital improvement project – thanks to the presence of Burgess BioPower.”
Originally proposed in 2003, the city shelved the project when it couldn’t obtain grant funding and raise matching local funds. In 2011, Berlin began receiving PILOT funds from Burgess BioPower, allowing the city to revisit the Route 16 project in 2013. Berlin secured a new $5.5 million bond, using the Burgess BioPower PILOT to cover the payments, adding to the city’s existing $1.5 million bond to fully finance the project.
“The Route 16 project has been a great effort to revitalize Berlin and to support infrastructure which in turn will spur economic development opportunities for the city,” says NH Executive Councilor Joe Kenney. “The need to invest in new infrastructure to replace old infrastructure is the economic key to any city or town in the North Country. Berlin is doing it right by taking on this commitment.”
From Success Street to the Twelfth Street Bridge, crews installed a new storm water collection system and completed total reconstruction of the road, including granite curbing, masonry brick pavers and street trees. From the Twelfth Street Bridge to Cates Hill Road, crews removed and replaced the old road surface to enhance drainage, eliminate potholes and bring the driving experience up to new road standards. The road’s west side features a new concrete sidewalk with masonry brick pavers and granite curbing. Beautiful landscaping with numerous trees now adorn the road. HEB Engineers of North Conway, designed and oversaw the project and Sargent Construction of Stillwater, Maine served as the general contractor.
“Burgess BioPower is committed to our community, to both Berlin and the state,” says David Walker, plant manager of Burgess BioPower. “Of the more than 20,000 truckloads of wood chips we handled in 2017, a large portion was sourced from nearly 80 NH-based suppliers, which helped to boost the logging and sawmill industry. In addition to our team in the plant, we also support more than 200 jobs throughout the state, and we contributed nearly $4 million in taxes, fees and charges paid to local and state government in 2016. But nothing beats seeing how our team and plant contribute to the community like driving down the new and improved Route 16.”
Officials also announced the city will break ground on the Riverwalk along Route 16 and the Androscoggin River in Summer 2019. The approximately $1.1 million project will be funded by a Northern Borders Regional Commission grant, a Transportation Alternatives Program grant from the New Hampshire Department of Transportation (NHDOT), and funding from the city.
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