The New Hampshire Department of Transportation's TIGER III application has received the support of two key Salem legislators. In a formal letter to the Honorable Ray H. Lahood, the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation, House Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt and Senator Chuck Morse, the chairman of senate finance committee, requested his support for the project.
The project is part of the larger I-93 Improvements Project that would complete construction from the New Hampshire/Massachusetts state line to just north of Exit 2, on Interstate 93. Specifically, it will finalize the reconstruction of the Exit 2 interchange resulting in three travel lanes being operational in each direction from the state line northward four miles by reconstructing and widening three miles of interstate and replacing two red-list bridges.
"This is a major corridor used by hundreds of thousands of tourists and residents travelling north through our state each year and it is important that the infrastructure adequately handle the traffic flow," said Bettencourt. "Because of its important to the economy in the region and its impact on commuters, jobs, the retail industry, and the tourism industry, I felt it important to personally contact the secretary of transportation and ask for his support," added the majority leader.
The I-93 Improvements Project has been identified as the number one transportation project in the state by the New Hampshire Legislature. It was originally designed to handle a capacity of 60,000 vehicles per day. However, it is currently carrying more than 100,000 vehicles on a daily basis. Not only does I-93 connect southern New Hampshire with Greater Boston for commuters, the corridor is also vital to freight movement and New Hampshire's tourism industry. Northbound, it also connects residents of Massachusetts with the retail industry in southern New Hampshire.
The project will eliminate the last remaining red list bridges in the corridor, increase capacity, reduce congestion and travel times, improve safety for its users, and increase the connectivity of southern New Hampshire and Massachusetts.