Update on Route 12 Closure – 3/15/2022

Below, find the update from NHDOT. Above, find my reply.

I understand that some things are beyond our control. Nonetheless, please convey to everyone involved, every chance you get, that there is significant cost and danger racking up here. My son, a new driver, trying to navigate the muddy dirt going to school was involved in an accident, destroyed his vehicle, and sustained multiple injuries. He is not alone. The “alternate” route roads were never suited to be through routes or to carry commercial traffic. Consequently, they are deteriorating rapidly and some are actually impassable now that mud season has arrived.

Constituents are rightfully in an uproar about the damage to their local roads, vehicles, and persons. We are literally in the worst month to be using these back roads. Please explore any method of making at least one lane of Rte 12 open. I’m pretty sure they won’t care if it delays completion of the final project. One gravel lane will save a lot of doctor bills and vehicle repairs/replacements. There is also no guarantee that the back roads will last through this, leaving some with no way to get to work or school. 

This is an actual crisis now, not an inconvenience. 

photo Steven D. Smith
Deputy Speaker, NH House of Representatives

Dear Elected Officials for Charlestown, Walpole and Claremont: 

My apologies for the delayed update.  A family matter arose and in my absence, a situation developed with the Charlestown Route 12 repairs.

We are disappointed to send this update, but need to advise you that unforeseen circumstances have developed which impact the project.  

Work to install the soil nail wall began the week of February 14, 2022.  As work was advancing, the track monitoring system registered excessive movement. This movement caused the Railroad to reduce speeds to 10 mph and to rescind the Railroad’s approval of the work to construct the soil nail wall.   High groundwater, fluctuating temperatures, and fractured underlying ledge are all contributing factors. 

Clearly, the Railroad would like to resume normal speeds and the Department would like to reopen the road as soon as safety allows.  The engineers are analyzing the situation and reevaluating design options, working towards a solution with the public’s and railroad’s safety and travel needs at the forefront.

I will keep you updated more frequently, as DOT continues to meet with the Railroad and works to develop a solution.  DOT remains committed to the end goal of safely reopening Charlestown Route 12.

My Best,


Kathleen Mulcahey-Hampson

Legislative Liaison

About Rep. Steven Smith

Steven Smith is a member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives, serving his 7th term. Rep. Smith currently represents Charlestown, Newport, and Unity. Rep. Smith is the Deputy Speaker of the NH House.
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