State 10-year transportation plan envisions new roundabout in Concord’s South End
Published: 12-05-2023 4:31 PM
Modified: 12-07-2023 8:14 AM
The complicated Concord intersection of Broadway with Clinton and South streets at McKee Square would become a roundabout under the state’s proposed 10-year transportation plan, which also includes elements of the long-discussed expansion of Interstate 93 through the city.
Motorists have long been frustrated by long backups at McKee Square traffic lights, especially during the morning commute. The city of Concord created a McKee Square Intersection Improvement Study as far back as 2012, and building a roundabout there was one option. Since then the city has turned several problematic intersections into roundabouts, making it more of a default possibility.
Drivers who have to pass through this south Concord bottleneck shouldn’t get too excited about improvements, however: Under the 10-Year Transportation Plan, construction of the $3.8 million project wouldn’t start until 2030.
The $5 billion plan from the Department of Transportation for 2025-2034 was submitted to Gov. Chris Sununu last week. The plan, which is updated every two years, must be approved by the House and Senate and would be adopted in the coming legislative session. If the past is any guide, lawmakers will make changes before it becomes policy.
The bulk of the plan involves multi-million dollar improvements to roads and bridges. Airports also get some help, including proposed upgrades to Concord Municipal Airport and its specialized training facility for firefighters battling airplane fires. Less than 1% of spending would go to railroads, virtually all of it involving improvements to areas where existing tracks cross the road.
The long-discussed widening of I-93 through Concord with changes to virtually every exit in the city, including the first exit on I-89, shows up in a number of places. Most notable is $38 to repair the bridges carrying I-93 over the Merrimack River, with several years of engineering followed by construction starting in 2030.
A series of other projects listed as I-93 widening “from south of I-89 … to Merrimack River Bridge” could start construction as early as 2029. The estimated price tag for them is $362 million.
Other projects include:
Three dozen projects target pedestrian improvements, including $640,000 to build a walkway on a downtown trestle bridge in Franklin to connect to Mill City Park, slated for 2026, and $1.3 million for rail-trail improvement under Exit 9 of I-89 in Warner, slated for 2025.
It also calls for $1.7 million to build a 1.8-mile paved, multi-use path in Concord between Sewalls Falls Road and the Boscawen town line associated with the rail trail, although construction wouldn’t start until 2029.
A number of red-listed bridges, the term for those that have been deemed in greatest need of repair, are slated for work. A major project in Concord is $24 million to upgrade the Loudon Road bridge as it goes over the Merrimack River with construction to start in 2025. Further down the road are $3.4 million worth of repairs to I-89 bridges over Turkey Pond and $1.6 million for a bridge carrying US. Route 202/9 over Ash Brook in Concord, both starting in 2029; and replacing the Iron Works Road bridge over Turkey River in 2030 at $2.2 million.
Several smaller bridges throughout the region are also targeted.
Sixteen different proposals would build fast-charging stations for electric vehicles throughout the state at locations ranging from grocery stores and restaurants to downtown intersections. However, except for a 2025 target for those at Pease Airport and those for electric school buses in Berlin, none would be built sooner than 2032.
■$6 million to widen US 3 between Garvins Falls Road and Airport Road in Concord, starting in 2029.
■$3.4 million for intersection improvement at route 202, 9 and 127 in Henniker and Hopkinton, construction to start in 2025 and $3.2 million to make intersection improvements at Fountain Square in Hopkinton, starting in 2029.