DOT officials to discuss changes coming to Interstate 293 interchangesBy PAUL FEELY
New Hampshire Union Leader
June 05. 2018 1:39PM
MANCHESTER — State transportation officials have scheduled an informational meeting next week to discuss proposed design changes for the Amoskeag Traffic Circle and the Front Street interchanges on Interstate 293.
The New Hampshire Department of Transportation (NHDOT) will host the meeting on Wednesday, June 13, at 6:30 p.m. at Northwest Elementary School, 300 Youville Street in Manchester. The meeting will involve an initial overview presentation and then “one-on-one” interactive meetings with staff engineers and environmental scientists.
State transportation officials have drawn up large-scale redesigns for the Amoskeag Traffic Circle and they want area residents to take a look at their plans, which will be on display at the meeting.
Three major components of the project were discussed at a Technical Advisory Committee meeting in April.
One component would add an additional lane in each direction between Exits 5 and 6. State officials are working with Manchester officials to minimize impacts to the Merrimack River, as well as save a billboard-laden historic mill building on the west side of the interstate. Officials are working to maintain the integrity of the building function, by allowing space for trucks to access the existing loading dock, and to allow fire trucks to maneuver along the sides of the building for emergency access.
The proposal will impact some parking and likely the existing billboard located on the side of the building.
Another component of the proposal involves relocating the Exit 7 interchange to the north, without a connection across Black Brook to Goffstown Road. State officials have received input from Goffstown stating the need for the connection failed to justify the cost and impacts on that community.
Front Street would be realigned to form a four-way signalized intersection opposite a new driveway to a nearby condominium complex. The interchange connector road would also provide access to Manchester Community College, and the relocated Exit 7 would also be able to accommodate any future connection to the Hackett Hill area.
Two options have been discussed for Exit 6. One — a single point urban interchange — involves running most ramps onto the interstate off a new bridge that would span the highway. The other — an offset diamond interchange — would locate many of the exit ramps away from the bridge to Front Street and Amoskeag Street.
Gas stations and businesses on the east side of Eddy Road, between the ramps and Planet Fitness, as well as a few other properties along Front Street, the gas station on Amoskeag Street and some additional properties will be impacted by the project, along with the mill building along the interstate.
The project is in the current 10-year plan with construction scheduled for 2024. Exit 7 will likely be built first to relieve traffic congestion during the construction of Exit 6.
State officials have said at prior public meetings on the project that the changes are necessary for a stretch of highway that carries an average of 44,000 cars and trucks a day. Traffic backups take place during rush hours. The northbound exit backs up onto the highway in the afternoons, creating a traffic hazard, and the southbound entrance can queue up to the rotary, said Keith Cota, the project manager for the Department of Transportation who is overseeing the design work.
Estimates for the Exit 6 reconstruction total $96.2 million; Exit 7 would be $55.8 million.
Information about the project can be found on the NHDOT web site at www.293planningstudy.com.