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Woodmont developers talk traffic in Londonderry


LONDONDERRY - Concerns about traffic and transportation were addressed before the planning board Wednesday night during the latest in a series of public presentations on Woodmont Commons.

Addressing a small crowd of town officials and citizens, Kevin Dandrade, principal with TEC Engineering, offered a detailed picture of what the traffic situation might look like two decades from now should the 600-acre town village project slated for former orchard land abutting Interstate 93 and Route 102 be built.

Dandrade, who lives nearby, said he's personally experienced the rush-hour gridlock that already occurs along the I-93 and Route 102 corridor, and such issues were taken quite seriously during the planning process.

"As we look to the master plan traffic impact assessment, there are many pieces we go through," he said. "Its important to understand the mission as it complements what's in the Planned Unit Development ordinance."

Woodmont Commons would mark the town's first time working with its new PUD ordinance.

Over the coming 20 years, project officials are estimating an annual 1 percent growth rate along the Route 102 corridor and a 0.5 percent annual growth rate along the town's other roadways.

Fifteen intersections are included in the plans for Woodmont Commons.

Planned improvements to Exit 4 and the current I-93 widening project were also placed in the equation.

Dandrade said the majority of the site's housing, as well as retail and shopping areas, is planned for the western side. Once completed, officials are expecting a daily maximum of 34,000 vehicles to pass through the western section and 27,000 through the eastern section.

During weekday mornings, total vehicle trips throughout the development would peak at 2,170 per hour.

"Based on IT methodology, we're going to have about 35 percent internal traffic that never leaves (Woodmont)," Dandrade said.

Still, he admitted that these most recent estimates are just one of the many tools being used to determine the project's impact. Further traffic studies are planned.

"Some of the side street improvements are things we may have to work with the town and the state on," Dandrade said.

Project officials are also considering spacing out and adding traffic lights to the existing intersection at Route 102, Gilcreast Road and Garden Lane to make traffic flow easier. The existing traffic issues along nearby Pillsbury Road were also noted.

"The need for a remedy is apparent today," Dandrade said.

One alternative being posed is several new throughways along Pillsbury Road to alleviate the rush-hour gridlock.

Project planner Steve Cecil said the plans also include an interconnected area of green, open spaces, which are rife with agriculture possibilities.

"All of the open spaces are connected by streets and residences which really make the area walk-able," Cecil said. "Shared spaces for passive and active recreation vary but account for 25 percent of total areas."

Dandrade said all of these plans are still in the early stages and "right now we're really trying to find out what works."

"Our challenge is to make sure we don't overburden the infrastructure that's already there," said Dandrade. "Right now it's a vision, not the end-all solution."

The next public discussion on Woodmont Commons will take place March 13.

Those interested in viewing complete project documents may do so online by visiting the Woodmont Commons PUD Master Plan page on the town's website, www.londonderrynh.org.

aguilmet@newstote.com


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