DERRY — The public will get yet another opportunity to learn more about the planned Exit 4A interchange project as more details and affirmed plans are put into place.
A public hearing is set for Wednesday, Dec. 5, at 6 p.m. at West Running Brook Middle School, 1 West Running Brook Lane.
The meeting is part of an ongoing effort to bring the project's information and details to the public, part of the state Department of Transportation's timeline as Exit 4A moves forward.
There have been several public meetings already held up to this time for residents from Derry and Londonderry to hear more about what Exit 4A is all about and how it may affect property owners, traffic, and businesses.
The new interchange will be located between the existing exits 4 and 5 in Londonderry. The purpose of the project is to relieve traffic delays and congestion along Route 102 through Derry and to allow for regional economic development.
The purpose of this meeting will be to present citizens and public officials with updated information regarding the proposed project and to gain additional public testimony.
The Exit 4A plan has a long history, dating back decades and is often a controversial topic among those either for or against the project.
Back in December 2015, Derry Town Council voted to enter into a three-party agreement with Londonderry and NHDOT to move forward with the project. Both towns are committed to spending $5 million in total each for Exit 4A.
So far, Derry has committed about $3 million to the Exit 4A project and remaining amounts due will be bonded next year as part of the town's budgeting process.
The project is included in the state's approved 10-year plan with a price tag of approximately $56 million.
After five alternative routes were considered, an alternative "A" is now the top choice, officials say.
That three-mile alternative involves a new diamond interchange on I-93 in Londonderry, approximately one mile north of Exit 4. A one-mile connector would be built from that interchange across to Folsom Road, near the intersection of High Street and Madden Road in Derry. Folsom and Tsienneto roads would get improvements and upgrades across to where Exit 4A would end at Tsienneto and Route 102.
Some properties, both residential and business, will be affected by the work. Relocation assistance will be given to each landowner or tenant whose property will be impacted by Exit 4A.
The plan is all part of a goal to improve the traffic flow coming off the interstate through Derry and to "promote economic vitality in the Derry/Londonderry area," said Chris Bean, consulting project manager from CLD, Fuss and O'Neill at an earlier meeting, adding right now there is so much traffic coming through that it often inhibits pedestrian appeal and business access in the downtown area.
As part of the Exit 4A project, an underpass is included in the design to provide a safe crossing as Derry's trail system continues on toward an eventual connection to north Londonderry trails.
State officials said if nothing is done, it will get worse.
"Congestion is going to happen if we do nothing over the next 20 years without improvements," NHDOT official Keith Cota said at a past public meeting.
For information on the Exit 4A project visit i93exit4a.com. All are invited to provide feedback and thoughts on the project.
The Dec. 5 hearing begins at 6 p.m. at West Running Brook, but doors open at 5 p.m. for anyone wanting to inspect plans or look at project design information.