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Route 101 expansion process in Bedford begins

CONCORD — The more formal process of designing and acquiring the necessary land to expand Route 101 in Bedford will begin soon.

The Executive Council will be asked to approve naming two committees to formulate the best route and what has to be done to begin work in the expansion approved by lawmakers this year under the state’s 10-Year Highway Improvement Plan.

The $15.6 million project to widen Route 101 for two miles from Route 114 and Boynton Street intersection to Wallace Road has been a top priority for the area but until this year has not been a priority in the 10-year plan.

Rep. John Graham, R-Bedford, who serves on the House Public Works and Highways Committee, said the expansion has been on the drawing boards since he first came to the Legislature 14 years ago.

State highway officials have said that section of Route 101 is way above capacity and the scene of more than 500 accidents in the last 10 years. The council is expected to name councilors Chris Pappas, D-Manchester, Chris Sununu, R-Newfields, and Debora Pignatelli, D-Nashua, to the special committee, and Ray Chadwick of Bedford, and Thomas Deblois and John Brady of Manchester to a special commission.

The two groups will make recommendations that will be presented at a public hearing in September. Graham said a date will be worked out between the Department of Transportation and the Town Council.“It looks within the next three or four years we may finally have something.” Graham said.

Construction on the project is expected to begin next year and be finished during 2017.

The roadway will be expanded to two lanes in both directions with a curbed median strip and sidewalks on both sides of the highway.

Along with the expansion, improvements will be made to the intersections with Nashua Road, Meetinghouse Road, and Old Bedford Road and Constitution Drive.

The federal highway fund will pay 80 percent of the cost and the state 20 percent. The state will use turnpike toll credits for its matching requirements.

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