Design plans for possible roundabout off Exit 17 in Penacook move forward

  • A roundabout is proposed near Exit 17 off Interstate 93 in Penacook, where both Market Basket and the New Hampshire Liquor Commission have expressed interest in building stores.

  • The New Hampshire Liquor Commission has announced plans to build a new NH Liquor & Wine Outlet in Concord at Exit 17 off I-93. The 12,000 square foot, state-of-the-art Outlet at Concord Crossing on Whitney Road would be built alongside a new 80,000 square-foot Market Basket and other uses at the highly anticipated location, noted on this site map. Courtesy

Monitor staff
Published: 9/16/2020 1:55:15 PM

For the first time, the city got a peek this week at what a roundabout on Route 4 at the intersection of Whitney and Hoit roads in Penacook could look like if plans move forward to develop the area and build a supermarket.

The two-lane hybrid roundabout would provide access for east and westbound traffic along Route 4, in addition to accommodations for pedestrians and bicyclists, City Engineer David Cedarholm told the Concord City Council during a presentation Monday evening. It would also require that the Interstate 93 on-ramp at Exit 17 be moved further east so vehicles have plenty of time to safely merge from Route 4 onto the highway.

Engineers did consider a signaled intersection with a total of six travel lanes, but determined the roundabout would more effectively alleviate traffic congestion and slow drivers down in the heavily-traveled area, Cedarholm said.

The design concept was presented Monday, roughly two months after the council appropriated $456,000 to develop a plan for a multi-lane roundabout and ancillary improvements in the area. Concord Deputy City Manager Carlos Baia said he was back before councilors at the project’s 30% completion phase to check in and see if they wished to continue.

Moving forward with the design and engineering plan does not commit the city to the actual construction phase, which is estimated to cost roughly $4 million.

Laurie and David Rauseo own 42 acres where a proposed Concord Crossing development off Whitney Road would go if the Route 4 intersection is enlarged, something they have been trying to get done for more than a decade. Market Basket and the New Hampshire Liquor Commission have both indicated interest in building stores at Concord Crossing.

The latest design plan calls for a small, one-lane roundabout on Whitney Road to help with traffic entering and leaving Concord Crossing.

“Ultimately, whatever develops on this corridor it will likely require improvements to this Hoit and Whitney roads intersection,” Baia told the council Monday. “Whether it be for this particular development, Market Basket, or something further down the road, you’re going to have to do this, and this particular engineering plan, I think, can stand the test of time and will be easily converted to whatever you want to do to the future.”

Councilors ultimately voted in favor of moving forward with the design phase. However, several expressed an interest in reaching out to the New Hampshire Department of Transportation, the towns of Canterbury and Boscawen, in addition to the Rauseos to discuss future cost-sharing options should construction occur at a later date.

“I think at this stage, given what we’ve already invested and the huge opportunity that sits here at Exit 17, that we should continue to go forward with the design. It doesn’t commit nearly $4 million to the improvements at this time, but I think it will give it us a better perspective on what will actually be happening, rather than conceptually,” said Ward 3 Councilor Jennifer Kretovic.

At-large councilor Bryon Champlin agreed, noting that the expansion of Whitney Road is on the city’s horizon at some point down the road and that the design plans will be instrumental to discussions at that time.

“I would very much like to see an element of cost sharing,” he said. “Above all, I think it’s important for this development to move forward to expand the tax base for the taxpayers who live within the Merrimack Valley School District.”

The timeline for completing the design phase is December or January, with the goal of putting the project out to bid for construction in spring 2021.


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