By Alex Lippa
---- — PLAISTOW — Delays in the design of the last phase of the Route 125 widening project have prompted the state to extend the contract with its engineering firm.
Project manager Alex Vogt of the New Hampshire Department of Transportation said the delays are due to problems coordinating a final design for a service road with the town of Plaistow.
The state’s contract with Vanasse Hangen Brustlin of Bedford was to expire Jan. 31. The contract will now run through May 2014.
“It is not really that unusual,” Vogt said. “Issues come up. As we get closer to construction, we are trying to come up with solutions which are acceptable for everyone.”
The road would link properties on Route 125 and Old Road, allowing drivers to avoid Route 125.
The final phase is a half-mile stretch between East and Old roads. A lane would be added to each side of Route 125. Vogt expects the design to be completed by spring.
Construction is expected to begin in 2014 and end by 2015. The final phase is to cost about $6.5 million. The previous phase cost approximately $8.5 million.
The DOT recently finished work on a large section of Route 125, north of Old Road at the Danville Road intersection. Town Manager Sean Fitzgerald said the changes have made a difference.
“Aesthetically, the newer construction pieces look a lot better,” he said. “They have designs which bring greenscape to the corridor. The roadway looks pleasing and certainly the road is safer.”
He said there have fewer accidents at the Danville Road intersection since construction was completed.
“We want to see commercial traffic utilizing Route 125 more,” Fitzgerald said. “It certainly is a challenge to have three main highway systems run through this town. We hope this minimizes truck traffic, which likes to use Main Street as a bypass.
Haseltine Street, near the intersection of Route 125 and Route 121A, will now be part of Route 121A. There was major construction on Haseltine Street last year.
“It makes sense to have the state manage costs with roadway maintenance,” Fitzgerald said.