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FIRST BIENNIAL REPORT

OF THE

Governor and Council

AND OF THE

STATE ENGINEER

RELATIVE TO

HIGHWAY IMPROVEMENT.

CONCORD, N. H.:

1906.

(EXPENDITURE STATEMENTS TO NOVEMBER 15, 1906.)

REPORT.

To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives:

In accordance with Section 2, of Chapter 35, Laws of 1905, we herewith submit the report of the State Engineer showing in detail the expenditures under said act. In nearly if not quite every case, the Governor and Council have permitted the Selectmen to expend the money in their town on such highways as they preferred, provided such highways fufilled the requirements of the Statute. While the total number of miles of highway improved or reconstructed during the two years is as large as could be expected, it does not make the impression upon the public at large that it would if the work done had been in a continuous line. It has, however, in our opinion, given better satisfaction and accommodated more people of the state.

There has been expended during the two years in construction of new highways in the White Mountain region about $55,000 and upon the Ocean Boulevard about $34,000, the entire expense of which has been paid by the state. This work seemed to be called for under existing laws and did not interfere with nor deprive any town or city of the aid they were entitled to.

As we understand, there is no necessity for new struction in either of these sections for the coming two years and if there is, justice to other sections of the state would seem to require that the balance not required for maintaining the present state roads, and supplying the towns and cities with what they may call for under the law, should be expended in some other section of the state. We estimate

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that there would remain a balance above these requirements and cost of maintenance of from $40,000 to $50,000 a year. In our opinion, this balance should be expended on a continuous line from the Massachusetts boundary along the Merrimack Valley, through Nashua, Manchester, Concord and Franklin, and intervening towns to Laconia. The distance is seventy miles, of which twenty miles are of sufficiently good construction. This line would not only accommodate the largest number of residents of the state, but would accommodate Summer travel from Boston and vicinity to Lake Winnipešaukee, Squam, Sunapee and Newfound, and the White Mountains, and could later be extended to the White Mountains.

The justice of constructing this line is apparent from the fact that the cities and towns along this line embrace about one-third the population of the entire state, and pay over $43,000 per year of the $125,000 raised for highways under existing law. In the past two years they have paid under this law over $86, 000 for improvements of highways mainly in other parts of the state, and have drawn but a trifle from this state fund. Thus far, state highways have been built wholly at the expense of the state. If it is thought wise to continue construction on this basis, it would take about six years to construct this line. If it is thought wise to amend the law requiring cities and towns along the line to bear one-half, or some other proportion of the expense, the line could be completed so much earlier. While it is probable that the cities along the line might bear one-half the expense of construction and maintenance in their territory, the small intervening towns could not be expected to do it. This difficulty could be met either by the state paying a larger share of the expense in such towns, or by some provision of the law authorizing either the Governor and Council or County Commissioners to apportion one-half the cost in these small towns to the cities which the roads con

nect, or partly to such cities, partly to the County, and partiy to the town where the road is.

The present law would need some amendment to successfully build this line, but need not increase the sum raised by the State for highways nor deprive any town of the advantages now given by the law, except that towns and cities on this line ought not to have aid except for this line until it is completed. Change of the law which would allow cities to draw from the state one-half the cost of construction of this line in their territory, outside the compact parts of the city, would probably result in completing in the next two or three years that portion of the line. If the state paid the entire cost in the intervening towns it would be no more than has been done by the state in the construction of the Ocean Boulevard.

Whatever course is adopted with reference to this line should be with a view of later constructing a like through highway in the eastern and western parts of the state on the same basis. The Ocean Boulevard may well be considered as a part of the eastern line. If construction during the next two years under the present law in towns where these through lines are to pass could be with reference to such through line, the work would be greatly hastened.

The report of the State Engineer shows that the contracts in nearly all of the small towns are awarded to the towns, and it is our opinion that the law should be so amended that competitive bids shall not be required in small towns, neither should they be required in cities and large towns owning road building machinery. Such an amendment would facilitate the early commencement of work in the spring and would reduce the expense to the towns.

Inasmuch as the breaking out of roads in winter is of purely local benefit, it is our opinion that the expense thereof should be borne locally rather than by the state, and we

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