A DATE for a formal public hearing for the I-293 Exits 6 and 7 project has been set.

The hearing is slated for 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 30, at Manchester Community College. More details on the meeting and the public hearing process are expected to be announced this week.

An estimated 120 people attended an informational meeting last June hosted by state transportation officials 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) presented drawings and fielded questions from the crowd at the meeting, held at Northwest Elementary School. The meeting included an overview presentation, followed by interactions with staff engineers and environmental scientists.

Three major components of the project were discussed at the time, including adding an additional lane in each direction between Exits 5 and 6. State officials pledged to work with Manchester officials to minimize impacts to the Merrimack River, while also trying to save a billboard-laden historic mill building on the west side of the interstate.

Another component of the proposal involves relocating the Exit 7 interchange to the north, without a connection across Black Brook to Goffstown Road. 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.

Back in June, officials said they were zeroing in on the single point urban interchange option.

Gas stations and businesses on the east side of Eddy Road, between the ramps and Planet Fitness; 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.

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 website at www.293planningstudy.com.

Campaigns in full swing

Following her victory in last week’s municipal primary election — securing the largest percent of the vote in a Queen City primary in over 20 years — Mayor Joyce Craig’s reelection campaign is ready to hit the streets again with a Weekend of Action planned for Sept. 28-29.

“From strengthening our schools through investments like the GEAR UP Grant, bringing in up to 800 new, high-paying jobs with BAE Systems, to improving access to lifesaving addiction treatment and recovery programs, there are a lot of improvements we’ve made over the last two years,” Craig said in a statement. “But there’s still more work we need to do, and I look forward to going out and continuing to create positive change for our city.”

“After securing the largest primary win in 20 years, we’ll spend the next 7 weeks continuing to focus on the meaningful results Mayor Craig is delivering for the Queen City, and talking with voters about how together we can build a stronger Manchester,” said campaign manager McKenzie St. Germain.

After a kickoff at Craig’s Mammoth Street headquarters, Craig supporters will be in the community making calls and knocking on doors in neighborhoods all weekend.

Craig’s challenger, Victoria Sullivan, called bingo at Evergreen Place on Beech Street on Friday, and launched a team of door-knocking volunteers from her campaign office on Saturday. Sullivan will attend other neighborhood events this week, said campaign manager Derek Dufresne.

Chain gang needed

Any readers looking to get back on the “chain gang,” the football staff at West High School would love to hear from you.

School officials say three people are needed to work the chains at West home football games. According to acting Athletic Director Christine Telge, the school has been unable to find three volunteers to move the chains, and at times has had to delay the start of games until the opposing team could find volunteers.

School officials are asking school board members this week for authorization to offer $25 per game, per person, to entice people to help out.

School officials estimate the annual cost for the chain gang to be between $300 and $450. The funds would come out of the Athletic Department’s budget.

Registration reminder

City officials are reminding Manchester residents who are U.S. citizens and who will be 18 years old or older on Election Day to register to vote on National Voter Registration Day, Tuesday, Sept. 24.

“With the municipal elections happening on November 5th, every eligible American voter should exercise their right to be heard at the ballot box this year and for years to come,” said Craig in a statement. “Voting is one way to express ourselves as a community. But, to exercise this basic right, you must be registered to vote — and National Voter Registration Day is the right place to start.”

The Office of the City Clerk is open for voter registration Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Tuesday evenings until 8:00 p.m.

For more information on voting, or to find your polling location, go to: http://ow.ly/amlO50wk5V3.

Paul Feely is the City Hall reporter for the New Hampshire Union Leader and Sunday News. Reach him at pfeely@unionleader.com.

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