Colebrook Discuss Wider ATV Use of Roads and Chloride for Dust

December 16, 2013

By Jake Mardin
Colebrook News and Sentinel

At their November 25 regular meeting, the Colebrook selectmen discussed a request to open more roads to ATV traffic, although no further steps were taken to do so.

Metallak ATV Club president Craig Washburn mentioned several possibilities, including East Colebrook, Forbes Hill, Reed, Harvey Swell and Roaring Brook roads. Some roads would be opened in their entirety, while others would only be open partially for ATV use. Mr. Washburn said he has received requests from some residents of those roads to open them up for ATV travel.

Selectman Bob Holt observed that the way things are going, rather than repeating the same process several times, the town should open all of its roads--although he said that was something he couldn't go along with. "Originally this was all done to connect the trail systems," he said. "Now it's changing to get people to the trails."

Mr. Holt said the past practice is to get a list of roads together, set up a committee to review them, then have a public hearing. "Basically we're at the same stage," he said. No hearing has yet been scheduled.

Mr. Washburn said that he has received only a few minor complaints regarding the roads that are currently open, while Mr. Holt said he has heard quite a few.

The board also discussed the issue of putting down chloride on roads to lower the amount of dust being kicked up from ATVs. At a previous meeting, Vince and Michelle Roscillo of South Hill Road complained about the dust problem, and asked if chloride could be put down on the road.

At the November 25 meeting, town manager Becky Merrow said there was a possibility of the state doing it. Selectman Jules Kennett said if the state could not, then Colebrook would have to budget for it.

Public Works director Kevin McKinnon said a tractor-trailer load of 20 pallets of chloride costs $10,000. He also said even if chloride is put on the roads, there would always be some dust. "It's not going to eliminate the dust, no matter what you do," he said.

Mr. Washburn asked whether Ms. Merrow and the board would write a letter stating their intention to make efforts to improve the situation. Mr. McKinnon said that if the chloride is put down at the same time that the town crew does grading, it wouldn't cost too much extra. Mr. Holt said the board would be willing to work with them, and Ms. Merrow said she would draft a letter for the board's review.


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