HUDSON — Town officials are working to breathe new life into a plan to build a byway connecting Routes 3 and 111.
Though the idea of the byway is hardly a new one, it has not been discussed seriously for several years.
The project was included in the town’s most recent master plan in 2006, where it was proposed as a loop road extending around the south, east and north side of Hudson. The purpose of the byway would be to assist with east-west traffic across the Merrimack River and an easing of congestion in the center of town.
During Tuesday’s meeting of the Hudson Board of Selectmen, members shared ideas about the so-called Circumferential Highway with state Reps. Mary Ann Knowles, Lynn Ober, Russell Ober, Jordan Ulery, Andrew Renzullo and Richard LaVasseur, and state Sen. Sharon Carson, R-Londonderry.
Interchanges at Routes 3A, 111 and 102 were proposed as part of the original plan, but in the early 1990s the state Department of Transportation changed the plan due to concerns about wildlife habitats. The revision called for a limited-access, four-lane highway beginning from NH 111 in Hudson and circling north then west just north of the Hudson town line into Litchfield, where it would cross the Merrimack River and connect to the Everett Turnpike.
Rick Maddox, chairman of the Board of Selectmen, said traffic is already a pressing problem in town because of the potential for the construction of a large industrial park off Route 102 and extension of public water and gas lines along the northern section of town.
“Things are definitely going to get busier in the next few years,” Maddox said.
Selectman Roger Coutu said a huge priority now would be to “convince the state to take a serious look at the Route 3 and Route 111 corridor.”
According to statistics compiled by the Nashua Regional Planning Commission, the town’s existing roads will be about 12 percent over capacity upon Hudson’s eventual build-out, though it’s unclear exactly when that will happen.
“Right now, I think it would be best for the town if our legislative contingent could meet with the (DOT) to go over facts and figures,” Coutu told the legislators. “That way we could all sit down and analyze which options may or may not be available.”
Maddox said the proposed road has been in Hudson’s master plan for several decades, but it isn’t listed in the state’s 10-year road plan.
“At a local level, perhaps we could build it as a town road,” Maddox said. “I don’t think that we, as a town, believe that Lowell Road is wide enough to deal with (future) traffic volumes.”
Most of the land in question is owned by the state, selectmen said.
“So what we’d be looking to do is either lease or purchase the state’s land intersecting Routes 3 and 111,” Ulery said.
While it’s too soon to determine what final project costs might be, Carson agreed to share the board’s concerns with legislators in Concord.
“I think right now it’s important for the town to begin formulating a plan and the best way to get there,” Carson said Thursday. Since the funding for this project would likely come from the community, a meeting to get the public’s thoughts might be a good early step as well, Carson said.
“As you know, building a road isn’t cheap,” she said. “So right now the town of Hudson needs to define what they want and how to get it.”