By Julie Huss
---- — DERRY — Derry took its turn hearing information about the state’s 10-year plan for highways and transportation projects.
The Governor’s Advisory Commission on Intermodal Transportation made a stop in Derry last week, one of 25 hearings planned around the state to bring communities up to speed on the state’s 10-year plan, what projects will get funded and which ones didn’t make the list.
This 10-year plan spans 2015 to 2024. Officials said it all comes down to priorities and how much money is in the state’s wallet.
Transportation Commissioner Chris Clement said the Interstate 93 project remains a priority.
“This is the road paved with gold,” he said. “The sooner we get it done, the better for the state.”
The list is formulated after communities contribute their own wish lists for what they would like to see the state invest in.
Communities develop priority lists that are eventually evaluated by the state according to eight criteria, including mobility, economic development, state of repair, environmental impact, and how much support a certain project has.
The state has many issues that need attention, but not enough money to do them all, officials said.
Derry’s Drew Road bridge made the list.
Another local project at Kilrea Road and Route 28 is also on the present 10-year plan and will go out to bid in the spring of 2014.
Clement told Derry residents and officials that the I-93 project needs to also include Exit 4A, although the state still needs to find $250 million to complete the project. There’s just not enough money to do it all, he said.
“It’s all about balance,” he said. “We are constantly struggling with finishing I-93, but not letting the state fall into disrepair.”
Derry Town Councilor Tom Cardon said he has worried about Exit 4A’s fate for 20 years.
“My concern is how much is this going to cost and who is going to pay for it?” he said.
Sen. Jim Rausch, R-Derry, said he has been a part of seven state 10-year plans and I-93 has always been a top priority. That includes Exit 4A.
“It remains in the plan,” he said. “My strong belief is that it is a necessary project.”
Raush said there is never a miracle cure for finding the money to do everything that needs to be done.
“You try to solve problems,” he said. “That doesn’t always mean you are successful. There will be some difficult roads and some difficult challenges, but there will not be a lack of effort.”
The hearings continue this month. All information and input from communities will head to Gov. Maggie Hassan’s desk for review before coming before the Legislature for potential approval by June 2014.