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Derry and Londonderry hold public hearing about new highway exit

Union Leader Correspondent

May 24. 2018 8:11PM

DERRY — Members of the public and officials from both Derry and Londonderry gathered at the West Running Brook Middle School gymnasium Wednesday to discuss the environmental impact study and alternative routes for Exit 4A, a long-proposed exit off Interstate 93.

The purpose of the meeting was to solicit public input and make sure project decisions protect the environment, meet public transportation needs and community goals.

“That project has been going on for decades,” said Derry Town Manager David Caron, who recalled that when he started as the Londonderry Town Manager in 2001 he was handed a box of paperwork related to Exit 4A that he inherited from his predecessor.

Planning for the project began in 1985, and now that it is included in the state’s 10-year transportation plan, it’s closer than ever to becoming a reality, officials said.

“It’s happening,” said Londonderry Town Manager Kevin Smith, who wasn’t able to attend Wednesday’s meeting. “We just have to get it through the environmental impact process.”

The new exit, located in Londonderry, promises to reduce traffic in downtown Derry and expand economic development opportunities with new connector roads to the east Woodmont development area — a 200-acre parcel.

“It almost impacts Derry more than it impacts Londonderry,” Smith said.

The interchange would connect from the east side of I-93 to Folsom Road and then Tsienneto Road.

Department of Transportation chief project manager Keith Cota said the department has concluded that alternative route A — the first of five alternative routes presented — is the preferred route.

Cota said it provides the greatest traffic relief and the most economic benefits.

Routes C and D would connect a new exit to Route 28 and connect to Tsienneto Road directly or cross over two miles north of it to Route 102.

Alternative F would not include a new exit but would widen and upgrade West Broadway in downtown Derry, and eliminate most of its parking in the process.

There will be another informational meeting in July to go over the details of the preferred route, according to Marc Laurin of the DOT.

A September meeting will coincide with the publication of an environmental study.

Derry and Londonderry will contribute $10 million to the $50 million project, with the balance coming from state and federal funds.

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