By Julie Huss
---- — LONDONDERRY — It’s all about traffic now as Woodmont Commons developers continue to pitch their plan to town officials and residents.
Representatives from the Woodmont team came before the Planning Board last week to talk traffic and infrastructure plans for the proposed 600-acre, multi-use development.
The project is proposed by Michael Kettenbach and Pillsbury Realty Development. Pillsbury purchased the Woodmont Orchards property two years ago for $7 million.
The project, as proposed, would be completed in phases over 20 years.
The vision to create Woodmont began in 1997 when Londonderry’s master plan included the possibility of creating a new village concept in town, combining businesses, streetscapes, gardens, community centers, hotels and homes.
Since then, the town passed its Planned Urban Development ordinance, outlining regulations for new developments that are separate from current land use rules. Woodmont Commons is the first project to use the PUD ordinance.
Jim D’Angelo of TEC Engineering gave planners a status report on several areas, including traffic and how building Woodmont would add to current flow in town.
One discussion centered around a “what if” scenario if Exit 4A off Interstate 93 was completed and what if it never got done. Traffic studies centered on Hovey and Hardy Roads.
If Exit 4A were built, D’Angelo said, traffic studies showed traffic on Hardy Road increasing by about 44 more cars per hour in the morning peak time and by 69 cars during evening peak hours. Without the exit, he said, Hardy Road could see about 38 cars in the morning and 69 in the evening.
Exit 4A could add nine more vehicles per hour in the morning rush and 13 more at night to Hovey Road. Without the exit, Hovey could see 19 more cars per hour in the morning and another 28 vehicles in the evening.
Right now, about 300 cars use both these roads during peak hours of the day, D’Angelo said. He stressed these were preliminary traffic estimates as to what Woodmont’s traffic impact would be with or without the new exit.
“Traffic would have to be redistributed without Exit 4A,” he said.
Planning Board member John Laferriere asked why Gilcreast Road wasn’t figured in with Hovey and Harvey for Exit 4A planning. He asked to see some traffic impact numbers for that road as well.
“I think Gilcreast is also a major component,” Laferriere said.
Kevin Dandrake of TEC acknowledged Gilcreast Road could be affected, but engineers only studied the northern most roads.
“And Gilcreast will see significantly more traffic than those,” he said.
Resident Jack Falvey questioned the traffic numbers. He said once it’s all said and done, there could be 3,000 vehicles in Woodmont’s 600 acres for residents and business owners.
“People tend to drive their vehicles almost every day,” Falvey said.
Woodmont officials said more information is coming.
Developers will give more updates at the Planning Board meeting May 8.