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Possible Exit 4A construction costs worry Derry officials

Union Leader Correspondent

June 09. 2014 9:40PM

DERRY — Although construction of an Exit 4A could be years away, town councilors say they are concerned the cost of the project off Interstate 93 could balloon to more than $100 million.

The councilors discussed Exit 4A and its potential cost to the town at the close of their regular meeting last Tuesday. They said estimated construction costs for the project have continued to spiral upward in recent years.

“It could be a very, very costly project to us, so we need to have our act together and figure out what we are going to do with it,” Councilor Thomas Cardon said.

The project now stands at about $50 million, with the state having identified approximately $19 million in funding, said Peter Stamnas, a project manager with the New Hampshire Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Highway Design. The funds would come from a state gas tax increase, which would leave approximately $30 million for Derry and Londonderry to split, Stamnas said.

But councilors said the town’s share could be much more.

“It’s going to be an ongoing issue with Exit 4A,” said Phyllis Katsakiores. “The price now is astronomical ...”

Katsakiores, who served for some three decades in the state House of Representatives, said she remembers when the estimated cost of the overall project stood at just $5 million.

Designed as an alternate route to downtown Derry, Exit 4A would include construction of a one-mile connecting road from the interchange off I-93 to Ross’ North High Street and Folsom Road and Tsienneto Road. The project is being sponsored by Derry and Londonderry, with DOT serving in an advisory capacity, Stamnas said.

But the exit’s construction could still be years out. Stamnas said the final environmental statement hasn’t been issued yet and is still only in the planning stages.

Even after the statement is issued, the Federal Highway Administration would still have to issue a record of decision as part of the National Environmental Protection Act, he said. Next would come the final design and construction plans, Stamnas said.

Exit 4A has been lumped in with the I-93 widening project from Salem to Manchester, Stamnas said.

To update Derry on the widening and Exit 4A projects, the DOT is scheduled to give a presentation during the Town Council’s regular meeting on Tuesday, July 15. The meeting is at 7:30 p.m. in the third-floor meeting room of the Municipal Center.

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