Meeting Held on Current Plans for Stonehenge Intersection

By Paul Conyers

The NH Department of Transportation (NHDOT) held a public information session on the proposed changes to Route 28 and Stonehenge Road on Sept. 1. NHDOT was looking to gauge public support for the project.
“The goal of the meeting is to provide a status update on the project, we’ve done several different tasks associated with environmental research as well as the actual alternatives to the design,” said Project Manager and Londonderry resident, Jason Abood, who was in charge of the presentation. “There are a few things that we’ve heard… we know that budget and funding were a concern, so we’ve taken a couple of measures to deal with that.”
The cost was a concern with the information two years ago and inflation. In post-COVID inflation has been an issue since that time. The original project was also smaller in scope compared to the current NHDOT plan.
The original plan was approved in July 2018 by the town of Londonderry. The plan was to have the federal government and town pay for half of the roadwork.
Abood noticed that the original estimate “wasn’t very well defined.” Current plans include more roadway improvement beyond just the intersection, the NHDOT hopes this will “streamline” construction.
He also explained that the new design will increase the level of service at the Stonehenge intersection while improving driver safety.
As it stands, approximately 50 accidents were reported at the junction between 2010 and 2019. NHDOT’s new design should account for changing traffic patterns “twenty years into the future.”
The two main options presented include a signal at the intersection and a roundabout as an alternative.
Public comments included questions about changes to the street, increased safety measures, and the possibility of a signal at the intersection. Current plans involve widening both roads, and shoulders in the area to create more turning room. With the signal plan, members of the public requested “some sort of sensor, so if there are four cars lined up on Stonehenge, the light will automatically change.”
Comments seemed to indicate that improving traffic flow is a priority.
Another priority was safety, specifically speed. The plan includes a design speed of 45 miles per hour. At least one local resident noted that cars routinely exceed the posted limits under the current configuration. The project will alter traffic flow for nearby homeowners, so driveway sight distance was another concern for many at the meeting.
Dan Primo, Design Team Supervisor for the project, scored the different design alternatives on everything from cost to safety, finding the roundabout option to be better overall. Cars coming out of a roundabout are “slower” according to Primo. A roundabout should limit concerns of speed and sight distance. Cost estimates for a roundabout are slightly lower compared to a signal.
There has not been a vote on the final design. Existing plans expect to see the start of construction around the Fall of 2023.

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