EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

January 13, 2014

NHDOT revises Route 1 widening schedule again


“The most time-consuming part of the process is securing the needed property rights and right of way,” Chase wrote. “The impacts to commercial property, and the necessary acquisitions can take time. There will be complicated appraisals, title intricacies, and complex interest holder relationships.”

However, since the project is part of a legal agreement that’s been on the book for years and wrapped around heavy influx of traffic expected by the summer of 2014 on an already congested roadway, many in town wonder why, if the process is so complex, DOT staffers didn’t plan better and get started earlier to meet the region’s needs.

Traffic on the New Hampshire Seacoast corridor of Route 1 is second only to Interstate 95 in the region, especially during the summer tourist months.

At Tuesday night’s Planning Board meeting, Hawkins expressed a modest degree of appreciation to DOT for its willingness to try to move things up by a year, but noted that will still make it a year late as far as Seabrook is concerned.

Currently awaiting approval before the Planning Board are plans for another new 168,000-square-foot Route 1 shopping center in the same vicinity proposed by Seabrook businessman Arleigh Greene, which is expected to bring another 513 to 791 new vehicles per hour to the road during peak weekday/weekend shopping hours exactly where the widening project is planned.

Although Greene has included traffic mitigation efforts to accommodate the additional cars, Hawkins has said that the state’s failure to proceed as expected with a 2015 construction date on the widening project will impact how the board handles this new retail outlet, to be located near Bob’s Furniture. Hawkins said in its approval considerations, the Planning Board will have to consider when the town should allow developer Greene to build in relation to when the state widens the road.

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