March 14 -Money for Claremont Transportation Projects in States 10- Year Plan

This article appeared in the E-Ticker News March 14, 2016

NH House Happenings

By Rep. John Cloutier

Money For Claremont Transportation Projects In Stateʼs 10-Year Plan

New Hampshireʼs House of Representatives adopted the latest version of the Stateʼs 10-Year
Transportation Improvement Plan last week. This plan includes funding for several important Claremont Area transportation projects.

New Hampshireʼs Transportation Improvement Plan for Fiscal Years 2017-2026, which is updated every two years, is contained in an amended version of House Bill 2016, that was approved by the House on March 10 by an overwhelming voice vote. But the 10-Year Plan, as it is commonly called, was approved only by such a voice vote after a floor amendment removing $4 million for a project development study of a proposed commuter rail line between Boston, MA, and Manchester was passed by a narrow 174-162 roll call vote. The study had been included in the original version of the 10-Year Plan as submitted by Gov. Maggie Hassan in January and was one that the House Public Works & Highways Committee had earlier allowed to stay in its recommended version of House Bill 2016, despite an attempt by House Republican Leadership to remove the study in committee. The attempt failed because of a 10-10 tie vote. 

Among the Claremont projects in the version of House Bill 2016ʼs 10- Year Plan approved by the House is a total of $3,976,130 for highway construction improvements to Route 12, including the relocation of the North Street Intersection with Route 12. According to House Bill 2016 the actual construction is supposed to start by 2017, construction that follows a total of $951,064 being spent in the last few years for preliminary engineering and right-of-way work on the Route 12 improvements, including the relocation of the North Street Intersection.

Other funded projects in Claremont include a total of $7,658,418 for needed repairs to the Route 12A Bridge over the Sugar River. The $7,658,418 includes a total of $522,605 in preliminary engineering work on the bridge, engineering work that is now scheduled to occur in 2018 and 2019, according to House Bill 2016. The remaining $7,135,813 will be used for the actual repairs to the bridge, repairs now slated to begin in 2022, also according to the same bill. 

There is a total of $223,213 allocated in House Bill 2016 for infrastructure improvements to the roads and sidewalks leading to the Bluff, Disnard, and Maple Avenue Schools. These improvements are being done to enhance the safety of students either walking or riding their bicycles to Claremontʼs three public elementary schools, according to the bill. The improvements are scheduled to be completed by 2017, and are being paid for with federal funds. 

However, roads, bridges, and sidewalks are not the only Claremont transportation projects funded in House Bill 2016ʼs 10-Year Plan. A total of $4,943,112 is allocated for improvements to Claremontʼs Municipal Airport between 2017-2026, improvements which are mainly to be paid for with federal dollars with a small local match from the City of Claremont.

Other local transportation projects in House Bill 2016 include a total of $19,123,028 for reconstruction and repairs to Route 12 between Charlestown and North Walpole, a highway which runs closely along the Connecticut River. The reconstruction and repairs include adding shoulders to Route 12, improving the highwayʼs drainage system, and relocating the railroad tracks that run along Route 12. According to the 10-Year Plan Book, the tracks are scheduled to be relocated in 2017 and 2018 with the actual highway reconstruction to follow in 2019 and 2020.

Also included is a total of $33,972,745 for rehabilitation and widening of the Interstate 89 Bridge over the Connecticut River between Lebanon and White River Junction, VT. This rehabilitation and widening is for both the bridgeʼs northbound and southbound lanes. Preliminary engineering for this bridge project is slated to begin with the next year, and should be completed by 2018. Next, the actual construction is supposed to follow in 2019, and should be completed by 2021 according to House Bill 2016. 

Additional Sullivan County transportation projects in the 10-Year Plan include replacement of Sunapeeʼs Lower Main Street Bridge over the Sugar River. This replacement is scheduled for 2017 at a total cost of $454,312. Next, in 2018, rehabilitation to Newportʼs Oak Street Bridge over the Sugar River is slated to be done at a total cost of $1,702,800. Then in 2019 Newportʼs Sand Hill Road Bridge is supposed to be re- placed for a total of $106,502 according to the same plan. 

The last two Sullivan County projects in the 10-Year Plan include a total of $5,788,265 for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of Route 12 in Charlestown from the Route 12A Intersection in North Charlestown to Almar Street. This project is scheduled to begin with preliminary engineering in 2023 and finish with the actual reconstruction and rehabilitation in 2026. Finally, a total of $785,860 has been allocated for work on Springfieldʼs Georges Mills Road Bridge over the Star Lake Outlet, which intersects with the Fisher Corner Road. The work is to replace the bridgeʼs five foot diameter culverts, with the replacement slated for 2020.

For readerʼs information, I did vote for final passage of the 10-Year Plan in House Bill 2016 on the House floor March 10, and also earlier voted for the bill as amended by the Public Works & Highways Committee, of which I am a member. But I was disappointed that the full House removed the $4 million for the project development study of the proposed commuter rail line between Boston and Manchester, a re- moval that I voted against because a study could determine if such a rail line would benefit our entire state and would be paid for with federal dollars that will just go back to Washington or other states, if New Hampshire doesnʼt use them for the study. Otherwise, I believe the 10- Year Plan is a fairly good one for our state, considering the Highway Fundʼs dire fiscal condition.