LEGAL Q&A: Current Hot Topics Regarding Road Issues

For this issue’s edition of Legal Q&A, we will be focusing on some common questions relating to local road issues. Our legal services team here at NHMA answer a variety of legal questions involving many different issues, however from time to time we notice trends in certain topics popping up more often than others. Maybe it is the fact that the summer months tend to be the time when municipalities engage in the majority of their road maintenance, or perhaps it is the thought of the fast-approaching cold weather that has everyone’s mind turning to road conditions and regulation.

Informational Webinar on the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act

Join us in this informational session hosted by U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen and the New Hampshire Municipal Association to learn more about the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, historic legislation signed into law last year that invests in our nation’s core infrastructure priorities – including roads and bridges, rail, transit, ports, airports, the electric grid, water systems and broadband.

2021 Hard Road to Travel Workshop

A significant timber removal operation is proposed and the road agent is concerned about damage to the adjacent town road, what can the select board do?

How does the Select Board approve the use of our Class VI Roads by OHRV’s and Snowmobiles?

Under what circumstances can the town agree to plow or maintain a Class VI or Private Road?

Four Considerations That Will Impact Your Next Infrastructure Project

When Kyle Fox, Public Works Director for the Town of Merrimack, sought to address damage from the 2007 Mother’s Day flood, he understood at its onset that this would be a complex job and approached Quantum Construction Consultants, LLC (QCC), a civil and structural engineering firm based in Concord, NH, about the Town’s options.

Legal Q&A: Contracting and Competitive Bidding for Summer Road Maintenance

Now is the time of year for local governing bodies to begin implementation of the summer road maintenance program. Every municipality faces the issue each year, since RSA 231:3, I mandates "All Class V highways shall be constructed, reconstructed, and maintained by the city or town in which they are located... ." It is a very difficult program to administer, as there are many types of tasks to be performed the tasks are expensive and they often require the use of outside contractors.

Follow the Money: New Hampshire’s Transportation Infrastructure in Decline

Whatever transportation infrastructure a municipality may own, the challenges are generally the same. A growing population and increasing demand put mounting stress on publicly maintained assets. The infrastructure that exists is aging and has not been consistently maintained. This reduces its useful life and its ability to handle the increased demands. Although the need for capital investment is clear, state and federal funding sources that municipalities have historically depended upon to finance these capital improvements are flat funded or shrinking.

Municipal Highways and Bridges: “How Bad Is It?”

In this second article in the transportation infrastructure series (see "Follow the Money, NH Transportation Infrastructure in Decline, Jan/Feb 2013 issue), we will move beyond a description of how transportation infrastructure is funded to try to identify for local officials where they might learn more about the condition of municipal highways and bridges in our state, and their role in operating and maintaining the system. I emphasize the word "try", because one of the current realities is that there is no single or convenient location where information about these issues is compiled.

Rebuilding Old Stage Road Bridge: ‘An Eye Sore into a Postcard’ Without Tax Dollars

By Donna Green


An historic stone arch bridge which connects two New Hampshire towns has been given a new life thanks entirely to volunteer labor, donated materials and approximately $45,000 of private funds. In May, town residents will celebrate the official opening of the rebuilt Old Stage Road Bridge, and the end of a remarkable story of volunteerism and inter-municipal cooperation.


Understanding the Special Legal Issues that Apply to Bridges

Some are surprised to learn that a bridge that services a public road is part of the public highway. A bridge is defined as a structure on a public highway that has a clear span of 10 feet or more, which spans a water course or other opening or obstruction. RSA 234:2. As part of the public highway, legal issues are, for the most part, identical to any other municipal road. However, some issues are unique to bridges. The following is a brief overview of maintenance and liability issues relating to bridges.