DOT 10-year transportation plan discussed at meeting in Bedford

Recommendations for the 10-year transportation improvement plan for 2015-24 – a projects-only discussion – were outlined in Bedford on Oct. 2, during a meeting at Bedford Cable TV, 10 Meetinghouse Road. Similar gatherings were held in other towns and cities across the state. The series of meetings began Sept. 9 in Charlestown.

The Bedford meeting drew Executive Councilor Christopher Pappas, of District 4, who co-
hosted the meeting with Executive Councilor Deborah Pignatelli, of District 5.

Other panel members included William Watson, administrator, Tim White, transportation planner for the Southern New Hampshire Planning Commission, Bill Cass, of the Southern New Hampshire Planning Commission, and Tim Roache, Nashua Planning Commission assistant director.

Highway, bridge, rail, transit and airport projects were discussed.

Merrimack Town Council member Tom Mahan cited the inability of the Everett Turnpike to handle the massive amounts of traffic on the roadway when there is heavy volume. He expressed concern about the impact of tolls that would be used to finance the expansion of the Everett Turnpike from Exit 11 to the Bedford toll plaza.

David Danielson, a former Bedford town councilor and the current Bedford representative to the Southern New Hampshire Planning Commission, said Bedford residents are captive on Route 101. He suggested that Route 101 and Route 101A be considered “a system,” not individual roads.

The widening of those roads, the panel agreed, would be a process entailing environmental studies, acquisition of properties flanking the roads, impact studies regarding historical districts and other factors. The consensus of the presenters was to use available dollars to fix existing sites.

The audience had the opportunity to review projects described in a 98-page draft. The draft included a list of projects under consideration, estimated costs and sources of revenue. Some projects were the replacement of unsafe bridges, culvert replacements, widening of ramps and installations of turning lanes.

The panel indicated a hope to approve a final plan by spring, so recommendations can be presented to the House and the Senate and then forwarded to the governor for signing that will enact the 10 Year Transportation Improvement Plan into law.

Copies of the 2015-24 10 Year Plan are available at www.nh.gov/dot/org/projectdevelopment/planning/typ/index.htm. Copies also can be obtained by contacting the Bureau of Planning & Community Assistance at the Department of Transportation at 271-3344.