---- — A new one-mile section of Interstate 93 northbound has just opened north of the Exit 1 off-ramp in Salem. This project is part of the Rebuilding I-93 project to widen the Interstate from the Massachusetts state line in Salem to the I-93 / I-293 interchange in Manchester.
This section of I-93 was built in the early 1960s to accommodate 60,000 to 70,000 vehicles per day. In 2011, average traffic volumes were 100,000 vehicles per day in Salem, with segments between interchanges 2 and 5 carrying up to 84,000 vehicles per day.
I-93 is a major transportation corridor for New Hampshire, both for commuters and visitors to the state, linking the Greater Boston area with tourism-related activities in the northern and central parts of the state. It serves as a vital link to the regional economic activities.
Significant progress is being made on the I-93 widening project, including improvements in the area around Exit 5 in Londonderry in the Southern New Hampshire Planning Commission region. Currently the project is scheduled for completion in 2020, according to the Regional Transportation Plan. However, securing funding for the project continues to be an area of concern.
Transportation projects like the I-93 widening project must be planned and coordinated regionally. This project affects not only mobility through and within the region, but also affects natural resources, population growth, housing, tourism and economic development. The southern part of the state provides about half of the state’s jobs.
“Because I-93 is such an important component in moving employees to their jobs, and products to their destinations, it’s vital that we look at this transportation investment in the wider context of our region’s future,” said David Preece, executive director of Southern New Hampshire Planning Commission.
Deborah Lievens, chairman of Londonderry’s Conservation Commission and her town’s representative to SNHPC, added, “Nature doesn’t recognize political boundaries. A regional plan offers a constructive way to connect with other communities as our communities work to protect our natural resources and strengthen our economy.”
SNHPC works to promote coordinated development and planning of the region and to address regional needs and priorities. SNHPC is creating a variety of opportunities for residents in the Southern New Hampshire region to discuss what their needs and priorities are, through A Granite State Future.
The regional planning process also creates a forum for municipalities to communicate and collaborate with their neighboring communities. This can serve to identify significant cost saving opportunities where economies of scale can be achieved through collaboration where municipal interests converge, or to identify and resolve potential conflicts where municipalities may be working at odds with one another.
“The Granite State Future project is prioritizing input from local communities, individuals and stake holders to compile a broad based plan for New Hampshire,” said Ian McSweeney, director of the Russell Foundation. “This plan will then be used to strengthen employment opportunities, guide growth and move New Hampshire toward an independently sustainable future.”
Find out what your neighbors are saying, and join the conversation about the shared future in local towns and regions.
Connect with SNHPC at snhpc.org, granitestatefuture.org, facebook.com/snhpc and twitter.com/SNHPC.
For more information on the Rebuilding I-93 project, visit the New Hampshire Department of Transportation website at rebuildingi93.com.
The SNHPC Granite State Future Leadership Team meets on a quarterly basis. Check the granitestatefuture.org website for upcoming meetings and connect with SNHPC via email (email@example.com) or on facebook and twitter for project updates.