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Barrington Highway Department Open House

This article is about the Barrington Highway Department's Open House on Saturday, October 5th, 2019.

The Barrington Highway Department had its open house on Saturday, October 5th, 2019 from 8 am to 3 pm. The event was kid-friendly, with numerous items in a raffle, including a lot of toy trucks for kids, gift cards to local businesses, and gift baskets – each visitor got 1 free raffle ticket. We’ve attached all the files that were given out regarding the Highway Department to the bottom of this article. There was also other information given out, such as information about the recycling center, and information about Dig Safe. We will upload those materials at some time in the future in a members-only area where registered users will be able to download documents from the Town and other local organizations.

The Barrington Highway Department is responsible for all Town designated plowing, road paving, and mowing, excluding on private roads. From what we have gathered, we feel the Town of Barrington is spending our tax dollars wisely. Barrington owns and maintains most of the equipment that they use. Compared to the City of Dover, which contacts out all its road paving work, the Town of Barrington saves a lot of money by investing in the future of the Department and its employees.

One of the major reasons why Dover, NH subcontracts road paving work is to avoid having to pay into employee pension programs, but if you’ve ever traveled to many parts of Dover, you’ll notice that Barrington’s roads are kept much better than Dover’s roads because of the cost of subcontracting paving work is so high. It’s much cheaper in the long run to employ a staff of people that can do this type of work for the Town of Barrington.

According to the Town of Barrington Highway Department, it is the goal and intent of the town to provide timely and effective snow and ice removal on the town’s roadways for safety, and for the benefit of the town’s residents, and the general motoring public. This is achieved by executing the procedures and tasks outlined in the Town of Barrington’s Snow Removal and Ice Control Policy. However, it is not possible for the Town to achieve ice-free surfaces on all roadways during a storm.

Each plow route takes four hours or less to complete, so storms that result in heavy snowfall of freezing rainstorms are a big challenge. The direction of all winter maintenance activities for the Town of Barrington is vested in the Road Agent, Marc Moreau. Mr. Moreau said, “If the amount of acorns is any indication, there should be a moderate winter or worse.” He said that nature arranges for food sources for the animals for tough winters.

Marc said that every resident should come and get two buckets of salt and sand, which is provided for free by the Town of Barrington. He said it’s important for residents to clean out culverts and buy some good shovels to prepare for the winter. Mr. Moreau said that drivers should avoid driving during winter storms, and he said that drivers should never follow large trucks too close because ice can come off the truck and potentially kill you.

The main purpose of the Open House was to acquaint residents with the facilities and equipment of the town. Marc said it’s important for residents to see how their tax dollars are being spent, and he said there’s an open-door policy at the Highway Department – that residents are welcome there anytime. To residents that didn’t make the event, Marc said, “You don’t know what you’re missing” and to “try again next year.”

We also spoke with Erin Paradis, who is a Support Assistant at the Highway Department, about NH Alerts, which a brochure being handed out at the Open House said that it reports criminal activity. We found this to be inaccurate, so we’re following-up with the State of New Hampshire about this issue. Erin said there’s usually only an alert when there’s inclement weather, including some storms. She said it’s only an alert when the State of New Hampshire puts the alert out – local jurisdictions don’t currently have any ability to put out alerts with the system. We’d like to see the Town of Barrington, and other towns be able to report their critical events to the system as well, so that, for an example, if a criminal is on the loose in Barrington, NH, it would alert residents to keep their doors locked and call the Police if they see the suspect. This type of community involvement would really benefit the State of New Hampshire.

We asked the Road Agent, Mr. Moreau, why it’s so important for all Barrington residents to have an emergency plan, and he said, “New Hampshire is prone to erratic outbursts of severe weather.” He also spoke about flash flooding, stating that “The water doesn’t have the places to go that it used to” because of all the development that has occurred in Barrington. He also said a portable generator to run your house in case of electrical outages is huge.

We asked the Road Agent of the Town of Barrington if there’s a process for residents on private roads to get the Town to take over the road maintenance and he said, “Private roads are private roads – [the Town of Barrington] can’t take over any maintenance on private roads at this point.” We’ll be doing a follow-up piece on the private road tax issue later this month, that will hopefully explain how residents on private roads are taxed by the Town of Barrington, and what those additional tax funds are being used for since road maintenance is not being provided.

To download all of the flyers that were handed out at this event, go to the Barrington Highway Department Downloads and the Recycling Center Downloads.