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.”