NASHUA — A new completion date for the ongoing Broad Street Parkway project was announced Monday, as Mayor Donnalee Lozeau said she expects the roadway to be open to traffic in August 2015.
“Saying that publicly makes me really nervous,” Lozeau told a group of state and local officials while touring the construction site. “But, we are pretty confident it will be the summer of next year.”
The two-lane, 1.8-mile roadway project was first discussed about 30 years ago, according to project manager John Vancor of Hayner Swanson, Inc. Construction first began last summer, and work is still progressing on the parkway, which will span from Nashua’s Exit 6 off the F.E. Everett Turnpike, stretch through the historic millyard district and provide another bridge crossing over the Nashua River. It is currently the largest municipally-managed construction project in the state, and will include four major construction contracts before it is finalized.
“To see it get to this point is impressive,” Sen. Jeanne Shaheen said while viewing the new Baldwin Street bridge now under construction — one of three bridges that will be built as part of the parkway initiative. Shaheen stressed the importance of replenishing the federal Highway Trust Fund, which the Senate is expected to consider this week.
While she praised the possible short-term agreement, Shaheen said a long-term solution is critical to ensure that important infrastructure projects in New Hampshire, similar to the Broad Street Parkway, are not delayed.
A depletion of the fund, which would occur if Congress does not act this week, could result in the loss of $55 million in federal transportation funds and more than 700 jobs in the state, according to Shaheen.
The Broad Street Parkway will cost more than $60 million to complete. It will provide another crossing over the Nashua River and allow motorists to bypass Amherst Street, possibly alleviating downtown traffic and potentially attracting more business to the Millyard Technology Park.
It will also open up a nearly 30-acre site — the former Mohawk Tannery parcel — for possible future development, Lozeau said. Lozeau hopes the Baldwin Street Bridge will be finished by the start of the new school year, although contractors have until November to complete that portion of the parkway. Then, work will advance on the Fairmount Street Bridge where a retaining wall is now under construction.
Bids for the south portion of the parkway — directly in the heart of the millyard — may be advertised this week, according to Lozeau. Once the parkway is finished, the mayor said that millyard businesses will have their own distinguished driveways and entrances.
“With the river here, we have so much potential,” she said, noting that Nashua is one of the last cities in the state to fully develop its riverfront. “I think it is really exciting for the city.”