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September 6, 2013

State holds hearings on transportation plan

I-93, Pettengill projects expected to get attention at state hearings

State hearings next week in Londonderry and later this month in Derry give officials and residents the chance to advocate for Interstate 93 widening, a new Exit 4A and Pettengill Road development.

The New Hampshire Department of Transportation and a governor’s advisory commission are holding 25 hearings statewide to hear the public’s priorities for the 10-year transportation plan.

“Those are all very important local priorities,” said Executive Councilor Chris Pappas, D-Manchester, who represents Londonderry. “When I look at the state, Londonderry is at the center of many important highway projects.”

The plan sets the state’s strategy for road and bridge improvements for the next decade, using state and federal funds.

Pappas said DOT will put a draft plan before the public for comment.

“I would urge people to turn out at those hearings to ensure the priorities of Londonderry and Derry are well represented in this plan,” he said.

The Londonderry hearing will be at 7 p.m. Thursday in council chambers at the town offices, 268B Mammoth Road.

The Derry hearing will be 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 25, in the municipal center, 14 Manning St.

Finishing the $800 million I-93 widening will be a priority.

“That is a priority by law,” said Rep. Sherm Packard, R-Londonderry, a member of the House Transportation Committee. “We passed two bills in the past 10 to 12 years to do that.”

The state is still looking to come up with $250 million needed to complete the work. Pappas said the Legislature will consider funding options next session.

Exit 4A also has some powerful supporters.

“Sen. Jim Rausch is determined to get Exit 4A done,” Packard said.

Rausch, a Republican from Derry, is chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee.

That project also is costly. Packard said recent estimates have put the price around $40 million.

“The question is whether the funding will be there to do it,” Packard said.

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