The view facing east of the light on Route 101 in Bedford at the beginning of Route 114. There are bottleneck traffic problems as four lanes go into two. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)
Bedford officials hope to improve Route 114 stretch into Goffstown
By KIMBERLY HOUGHTON
Union Leader Correspondent
BEDFORD — With the widening of Route 101 set to begin this year, town officials are now considering another local traffic corridor that could use some improvement: the stretch of Route 114 from Bedford to Goffstown.
This week, the Bedford Town Council recommended a traffic study to determine whether traffic flow and other safety improvements could be made from the Route 101 intersection with Boynton Street to the Route 114 intersection with Mast Road in Goffstown, as well as New Boston Road.
“These roadways have seen increased congestion over the past several years, and they are vital community routes,” said Becky Hebert, Bedford’s planning director.
She suggested that the study be added to the state’s 10-year transportation improvement plan for 2019-2028.
There are currently 12 projects in Bedford included in the 10-year plan. The Route 114 study is being supported by the town council, planning board and highway safety committee.
“This section of roadway, and New Boston Road, see a lot more commuter traffic than they probably used to, and are important connections to the northwest corner of Bedford,” said Hebert.
For years, town officials have stressed that the most important traffic project in Bedford is the widening of a 2-mile stretch of Route 101 from Route 114 to Wallace Road.
Utility work is slated to begin this year in preparation for that project, with construction slated for 2018. The $24 million project will widen that stretch of Route 101 to five lanes, and is expected to be complete by the end of September 2019.
With the Route 101 widening project ready to go, Hebert said it is time to focus on other projects that could help improve traffic in Bedford.
Police Chief John Bryfonski told the town’s highway safety committee that an important first step would be gathering traffic volume data at different points along Route 114 and New Boston Road during select hours.
If town officials are successful in getting the study included in the state’s 10-year plan, it would bring some attention to the traffic issues along that corridor, explained Hebert.
“These corridors are increasingly congested during the peak commuting hours, and we believe it is time to highlight these roads for a future transportation study,” she wrote in a memo to the council.
Preliminary work for the Route 114 study could be completed by town staff, she explained.
The 10-year transportation plan was once known as a “wish list,” said Councilor Bill Duschatko, but state officials have begun to fast-track some of the projects.
“It is not as theoretical as it used to be,” Duschatko said.
Hebert said there are obviously some fiscal restraints, but it is still important to identify potential projects every two years that should be considered for the plan.
The town will now complete a project application form with the Southern New Hampshire Planning Commission.
“The 10-year transportation improvement plan is updated biennially, and serves as the state of New Hampshire’s capital improvement program for infrastructure across all modes of transportation,” David Preece, executive director of SNHPC wrote in a letter to the town council. “… To be effective, it is essential that the (plan) reflect local and regional priorities across the state.”
The 12 Bedford projects currently on the 10-year plan are:
• Route 101 widening into five lanes from Route 114 to Wallace Road ($24.4 million)
• Route 101 bridge replacement over Pulpit Brook and Twin Brook Lane ($2.4 million)
• Safety improvements from Wilton to Route 101 in Bedford ($10.3 million)
• Cider Mill Road bridge replacement ($438,600)
• Catesby Lane bridge replacement ($659,463)
• Beals Road bridge replacement ($984,611)
• Route 114 bridge replacement for Bowman Brook ($2.2 million)
• Route 3 widening from Hawthorne Drive north to Manchester Airport Access Road ($6 million)
• Wallace Road bridge replacement ($414,816)
• F.E. Everett Turnpike open road tolling ($8.8 million)
• F.E. Everett Turnpike Nashua to Bedford intelligent transportation system development ($4.1 million)
• F.E. Everett Turnpike widening from two to three lanes from Exit 8 to the I-293 interchange in Bedford ($71 million)email@example.com