By Monique Brand
State Project Managers gave area residents an update on its latest plans to Interstate 93 at an informational meeting Oct. 28.
The plans are to develop an interchange on I-93 in Londonderry between Exits 4 and 5.
According to reports, the new exit would be designed to reduce traffic on Route 102, especially through downtown Derry, and possibly attract more business to the area.
The towns of Derry and Londonderry contributed $5 million to the total cost of the nearly $57 million project.
The project was first studied in 1985 and broke ground on a new exit 4-A in the summer of 2019. The upgrade is broken down into four parts with each under a different contract with particular developers such as VHB.
Ben Martin, VHB’s director of transportation for NH, said the interchange “could promote economic vitality in Londonderry and Derry.”
“The preliminary engineering process wrapped up in early 2020. As part of the process they identified the purpose and need for the project,” Martin said to the audience of almost 40.
The interchange will run east into Derry.
Part of the upgrades is a one-mile four-lane connector road off I-93 that will cross Shields Brook, Folsom Road, and Tsienneto Road. Both roads are also expected to widen for about two miles.
The project also expects three new bridges in Derry.
“Throughout the corridor, there will be new signalized intersections. There will be seven signalized intersections as well as two intersections that will be upgraded,” Martin said, adding that the signal system will be coordinated to ease traffic flow.
People living in the impacted communities had questions about impact on property and business, and if the new exit will be worth it as many voiced there is no need for such a project.
State Rep. Stephen Pearson R-Derry asked VHB and NH DOT staff to clarify the timeline of when the exit will be open to motorists.
“Are you going to open this exit once Part A and B is completed and dump that volume of traffic unto a unprepared and undeveloped, if you will or unmitigated Shinto Road? Am I seeing that correctly in this timeframe?…If that’s the case; this is going to be a disaster for people that live on Tsienneto. A disaster for people that live on 102. And if you live on North Shore Road and the backside of Beaver Lake; I feel bad for you right now because that will become a thoroughfare before Part C is underway because you guys got this backwards,” Pearson said.
Project manager Wendy Johnson responded to Pearson that the timeline is correct and that his concern will be “taken under consideration.”
One resident’s concern was having a busy thoroughfare as a view on residential properties.
“A lot of that land in this map is gone. Because 90 percent of those houses do not have any frontage there, whatsoever. Carpenters and real estate agents; they don’t want our homes because we have no frontage. So you’re basically going to take all of our frontage and we’re going to have a highway at our front door,” she said.
Another resident voiced possible issues with wastewater.
“If the water and sewage go on the top part of the map…on Folsom Rd., what is it going to do with the drainage? If there is a culvert there, where is that water going?,” she said.
Another resident echoed the same concern saying he was aware that the runoff from one of the stormwater treatment plants will run into the wetlands, causing more flooding.
“We have flooding all the time; we had a flood this year…three feet,” he said.
The project is expected to start with house demolition next year and Phase A starting in March of 2022.