March 10. 2013 8:53PM

NHDOT officials seek input on widening of Route 101 in Bedford

Special to the Union Leader

BEDFORD - One of the worst roads for traffic in Bedford may soon see some relief as state and town officials work on a proposal to widen two miles of Route 101, from Route 114 to Wallace Road.

A public informational meeting is set for Wednesday, March 20, at 7 p.m., in the town meeting room at the BCTV studios, 10 Meetinghouse Road. The Department of Transportation is seeking input from the public about what they feel are the main trouble spots that should be addressed in the widening project. They are also seeking input from abutters.

Route 101 is a state highway and was placed on the Department of Transportation's 10-year plan for improvements in 2005.

But because of budget shortfalls, the widening of Route 101 was removed from the list. Since then, local business and community leaders fought successfully to make the project a priority again.

After Bedford Town Manager Jessie Levine met with representatives from the state Department of Transportation last week, she said the plan right now is to widen Route 101 by at least two lanes, with a possibility of widening by three lanes, allowing a divided median with turning lanes. Levine said work could begin by 2015 or 2016, depending on funding.

The start date also depends on other factors such as moving utilities and lamp posts, securing rights-of-way and negotiating with abutters.

Another factor is the extension of sewers from Nashua Road to Wallace Road, and that work needs to be done before road widening can begin.

"We want to coordinate that so we install the sewers before highway work begins," said Levine.

Levine also said the town of Bedford will push for aesthetic improvements to the road including sidewalks and landscape work, trying to increase capacity and improve traffic safety issues while improving the look and feel of the town's center.

"Route 101 is such an important business corridor," said Levine. Traffic from Wallace Road and Route 114 is often heavy, affecting residents, businesses and commuters passing through.

The meeting will be carried live by BCTV.