By Julie Huss
---- — Local town officials are hearing details on what the state has on its 10-year highway plan list.
Tim White, principal transportation planner for the Southern New Hampshire Planning Commission, spoke to the Derry and Londonderry Planning Boards recently to give updates on the new 10-year plan for fiscal year 2015 through 2024.
He will be visiting other towns in the region.
White said the 10-year plan goes in a two-year cycle, as required by state law, and is the official direction the state hopes to go with transportation projects.
The current 10-year plan was signed into law by former Gov. John Lynch last June.
With money tight, some projects will take priority over others that communities hope will get done.
“These are very challenging times for both the state and municipalities in our region,” White said. “Cost are rising to maintain infrastructure, but the 10-year process is a very important one.”
For this cycle, White said the Department of Transportation has that infrastructure on the list as a top priority, along with some “red-listed” bridges in need of repair and improvements.
Another major priority is the Interstate 93 widening and getting that project completed. Another project on the plan is Interstate 293 Exits 6 and 7 in Manchester.
White said the process is done with the input of the towns wanting to see certain projects make the next version of the list.
“We sent out a letter to the Town Council chairman to see what Derry would like to see,” White said. “All towns are hoping to submit projects.”
Once towns send in their wish lists, a technical advisory committee evaluates and prioritizes them. Some make the 10-year lists, some do not, White said.
All projects will be prioritized by the DOT by April, White said. In the fall, hearings will be held by the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Intermodal Transportation and a first draft for the next version of the 10-year plan will be presented during public hearings held around the state.
Projects on the list affecting Derry and Londonderry include CART operating assistance and preventative maintenance, I-93 Exit 4A final design and engineering, and Manchester-Boston Regional Airport improvements.
“The state is focusing on safety and the state of repair,” White said.