By John Toole
---- — Commuters will see two major traffic shifts as work winds down before winter on the $800 million Interstate 93 widening.
“We are trying to get a lot done before winter,” said Jay Levine, coordinating supervisor of the widening project for the state Department of Transportation.
As soon as next week, a traffic shift will take place on I-93 north in Londonderry, Levine said.
Crews this week have been paving in advance of opening a section of the highway near the exit.
Londonderry isn’t the only town seeing action.
Last night, crews were scheduled to complete another traffic shift in Salem.
Traffic was being realigned to a temporary bridge at the Exit 2 interchange.
DOT officials said motorists will have a new off-ramp location north of the existing off-ramp.
Those are the big changes drivers will see through the remainder of 2013, Levine said.
Traffic shifts can give drivers a whole new look on their commute and the state’s Highway Safety Agency coordinator, Peter Thomson, has some advice for them.
“You need to slow down,” Thomson said.
That will help drivers better handle the change because they can react better to what might happen on the road, he said.
It also makes the commute safer for those construction workers who are trying to improve the ride, he said.
“The bottom line is, you’ve got to slow down and be patient,” Thomson said.
There’s plenty of work ongoing on the highway from Londonderry through Salem.
Here’s a look at ongoing projects along the highway:
In Londonderry, Severino Trucking Co. Inc. of Candia is reconstructing Exit 5, a project estimated at $38.5 million. Work is expected to be completed next summer.
In Windham, R.S. Audley, Inc. of Bow is reconstructing the I-93 south mainline in the area of Exit 3. The $35.1 million project is expected to be finished in the summer of 2016.
In Salem, George S. Cairns & Sons of Windham are working on the Exit 2 interchange reconstruction. The $40.9 million project was estimated to be about 20 percent complete this summer.
The state intends to complete the I-93 widening by 2020, but officials say about $250 million in work, including improvements in the Exit 4 area of Londonderry and Derry, remains unfunded.
Transportation Commissioner Chris Clement, appearing at a hearing for the state’s 10-year transportation plan this summer in Londonderry, said the widening remains a New Hampshire priority.
But amid funding uncertainty, there’s an effort in the Legislature, opposed by Southern New Hampshire lawmakers, to remove I-93’s priority status so other highway projects throughout the state can be pursued.