Make Lebanon whole again: Vote Yes on Question 4

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Bring back the bridge on Tuesday. Vote yes on Question 4

A message scribbled on a wooden slab across the street from the Transfer Station in Lebanon today reads, "A bridge too far. Vote no on 4."

Maybe if it was their toddler who was a victim of a near-tragic accident a couple of weeks ago not far from the Lebanon side of the bridge they wouldn't be so against replacing the span.

The frightening accident began when a girl became trapped underneath an ATV with her head wedged between the frame and ATV tire. The family had to cut the tire to extract the child.

When they got her free she was not breathing and was discolored. A family relative started CPR. Both Milton and Lebanon ambulances were dispatched. Milton rescue had to drive seven minutes around via Garage Way because the bridge is out while the CPR was being administered. Seven minutes is forever in a situation like this.

Fortunately, the CPR worked, and the child resumed breathing on her own prior to the ambulance arriving. But this story could have had a very different outcome.

If the bridge were up Milton Rescue could have been there in three minutes. From Lebanon Rescue on Route 202 you're talking maybe 12 minutes. That can be the difference between life and death.

The story of this near tragedy was detailed in The Rochester Voice in a Sunday story about the New Bridge Road bridge, and the shamefully worded Question 4 that will ask residents on Tuesday to commit $145,000 to ensure the replacement begins during the next fiscal year which begins next July 1.

First the substance of the question is patently untruthful, in that at least $60,000 of that sum has already been approved by voters to be spent on the New Bridge Road replacement.

There's another $25,000 in the town's bridge reserve fund that Selectmen Chair Chuck Russell said is not specifically earmarked for the New Bridge Road bridge replacement, however today he told The Rochester Voice that that the $25,000 he was speaking of was approved following the Mother's Day Flood of 2006 when parts of Milton not far from the bridge were cut off from Route 125 (White Mountain Highway) due to flooding.

So it's pretty clear it's a bridge that is beneficial to both towns from a safety standpoint, which is why both towns have set aside so much money to ensure its replacement.

Russell is personally adamantly against the bridge. Why? Because he thinks Lebanon's roads will be overwhelmed due to traffic from Mi-Te-Jo campground. But the expansion of Mi-Te-Jo has been rejected by New Hampshire's highest court.

It ain't gonna happen.

Russell last week apologized for allowing Question 4 to be so confusing.

But Chuck, it's already on the ballot. Your apology does little to help Lebanon residents who will vote on Tuesday thinking they're voting to "raise and appropriate" $145,000 when they're only likely voting to "raise and appropriate" as little as $60,000 over the next three years.

And how about the residents who just moved here in the past year, who don't know that town voters already approved spending $120,000 on a new bridge and this additional $25,000 is due to prices going up due to inflation.

Fortunately, if the town votes for the replacement bridge on Tuesday, that $145,000 will be capped, even if the state has to wait an extra year to get it done.

So Lebanon, Tuesday is the time to wipe away all the uncertainty about the New Bridge Road bridge replacement. Vote yes and it will happen. Vote yes and you might save a life. Vote yes and you might save a business. Vote yes and make your town whole again.

Remember it's not "a bridge too far' if the life you save is someone you know.

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