Residents Continue to Raise Concerns on Exit 4A Project

Congestion along Route 102 and I-93 has been a point of concern amongst residents and officials for a number of years. But although it has been discussed and debated since the mid 80s, a solution has yet to be fully realized. However, the New Hampshire Department of Transportation (NHDOT) seems to be coming to a conclusion on what will finally alleviate the issue, as was the topic of discussion during a public hearing held on July 25 at West Running Brook Middle School.  Leading the presentation for the dozens of Derry, Londonderry, and Chester residents in attendance were NHDOT Chief Project Manager Keith Cota and CLD, Fuss and O’Neill Consulting Project Manager Chris Bean. According to the two, the hope is to establish an I-93, Exit 4A interchange that will help to reduce congestion and improve safety from I-93 into downtown Derry.  Not only do they argue that such a project would help to promote economic development downtown, improve interstate access to the eastern side of I-93, and assist pedestrian foot traffic downtown, but it would also ease their concerns over the sheer amount of traffic along Route 102. Their projections show that the area’s intersections will most likely reach capacity by 2040.

After working to create a Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (SDEIS) and mulling over five potential alternatives, the most popular, Alternative A, was one of the two major focuses of the presentation. The project would see a new diamond interchange added to I-93, built 1 mile north of Exit 4 on new alignment from the interchange to Folsom Road. On top of acquiring 12 residences and 5 businesses for the additional construction, Connector Road, Tsienneto Road and others would see expansions that would involve a series of 2-lane, 3-lane, and 5-lane typicals to accomplish the goals of the project. Furthermore, there would also be room made to help treat storm water coming off of the project and protect or minimize the damage to nearby historical properties. The latter would be done to follow Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act.  Overall, the project is expected to cost around $56,000,000.

The other point of discussion of the meeting was whether or not project managers would seek out a design-build method over the design-bid-build method when determining how to go about building the project. Cota and Bean argued that the former is preferable because, as opposed to designing the plans for the project, having contractors bid on who will get the project, and finally constructing the project, the design-build method would have contractors work with the project overseers directly while designing the project. This would allow the NHDOT to both choose a contractor based on skill instead of money, and save up to a year on the time span of the project.

However, the project was not without its disapproval from the public. Once attendees were allowed to voice their opinion about the project, several voiced their grievances with Cota and Bean.

One of the first to speak was Derry Town Councilor and State Representative, Phyllis Katsakiores. She gave a brief history of the project, and mentioned how she was one of the people to draft the original legislation to address congestion along Route 102 over three decades ago, and that she was dismayed with how little progress has been made since then.

“It took 34 years to get where we are today. There  has been a bill, signed by the Governor, all this time.” Katsakiores noted.

Londonderry residents also had their say on the project. Amongst them was resident Ray Breslin who not only wanted to know where the funds for this project were coming from, but also argued that the project has been redone several times in the past and would only add more traffic to affected areas.

“It’s going to create more problems, rather than cure them,” Breslin stated.

Breslin was also distressed at the fact that very little public input has been used in developing the plan.

He also mentioned to the state presenters that the bypass being created would all but kill Derry’s downtown.

Derry resident Tom Landers asked if property owners along the project stand to loose property. To which the sate responded, yes.

He was also frustrated in the fact that Londonderry would seem to benefit more than Derry would with the new exit, and Tsiennto Road would be turned a highway or boulevard.

“Your plan is to reroute traffic from state roadways to rural Derry roads,” Landers said.

As for the timeline of the project NHDOT will be seeking out a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) to determine the qualifications of those involved in building the project into the spring of 2019, while then looking into a Request for Proposals (RFP) throughout 2019 and into the spring of 2020 to determine the best proposal for the layout of the project. The construction is then expected to start in the summer of 2020, extending into the fall of 2022 if this plan were to move forward. For more information and updates about the status of the project, visit

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