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Londonderry may use $519k grant to address safety issue at Route 28 intersection

Union Leader Correspondent

September 10. 2017 9:43PM

LONDONDERRY — The town government will have access to approximately $519,000 for infrastructure upgrades following a public hearing on Monday, and officials say they are considering using the money to fund an intersection improvement project on Route 28.

The state in June announced $30 million would trickle into New Hampshire’s communities to spend on roads and bridges, with Londonderry receiving $519,823 in unanticipated revenue in the form of a highway block grant, which will go into the town’s highway maintenance fund. These are additional infrastructure monies approved by the state Legislature and Gov. Chris Sununu in Senate Bill 38.

Londonderry Town Manager Kevin Smith said he is grateful to lawmakers for approving the additional highway funding, saying it will greatly enhance the town’s ability to improve roadway infrastructure.

“Projects that we thought we’d have to put on the back burner for the next couple of years are now being reviewed for immediate attention,” he said.

The Town Council will hold a public hearing Monday beginning at 7 p.m. in the Moose Hill Conference Room at the town offices.

Any unanticipated revenue of more than $10,000 requires a public hearing before the money is accepted.

“Certainly if anyone from the public wanted to show up and express an opinion about what they think it should be used for, they’re welcome to do that,” Smith said. “But that isn’t the intent of the public hearing because, to be honest, we’ve heard a lot of voices in the past about fixing the intersection of Stonehenge and 28, and that’s why that one is on the priorities list to get done.”

The intersection of Stonehenge Road and Route 28 has been discussed in town for more than a year.

Smith has spoken with state leaders about the dangerous intersection, with its limited sight lines and high traffic volume, which can make turning difficult during congestion.

There were 14 service calls at the intersection in the first three months of 2017.

Estimates for a traffic light installation have ranged between $850,000 and $1.2 million, but the town anticipates a majority of the funding for such a project would likely come from the state.

Smith said the funding is available as soon as the town accepts the money after the public hearing on Monday.

“That being said, if we’re going to earmark it for a special project like Stonehenge and 28, then we wouldn’t spend the money until we also had a buy-in from the state that they would be picking up the tab for the rest of the project,” he added.

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