New Hampshire's I-93 expansion gets nod from feds

| Monday, July 11, 2005

The widening of Interstate 93 in New Hampshire between Manchester and the Massachusetts line moved closer to reality recently when the Federal Highway Administration gave the project the go-ahead.

Gov. John Lynch said widening the north-south route from two to four lanes in both directions is critical to the state’s economy, public safety and quality of life.

“For people who live, work and commute in southern New Hampshire, traffic and traffic jams are becoming too common,” Lynch said in a written statement.

“This approval is a major milestone in our efforts to start and complete the expansion of Interstate 93 as quickly as possible,” he said.

Lynch signed a bill in May that allows the state to use grant-anticipated revenue vehicles, or GARVEE bonds, to complete the expansion in six years instead of the previously expected 11 years.

The funding program allows the state to borrow money against the federal transportation dollars that come each year to pay for construction. The sale is based on the assumption that federal funding in future years would pay off the bonds. This allows the state to get money needed for the project up front.

The federal agency’s OK allows the New Hampshire Department of Transportation to move forward on final design planning on the project and right-of-way acquisitions along the 19.8-mile corridor between the Massachusetts border and the I-93, I-294 and state Route 101 in Manchester.

The project calls for the reconstruction and reconfiguration of five interchanges and the replacement or refurbishment of 40 bridges, as well as adding additional park and ride facilities and preserving space in the median for potential future light rail or transit opportunities.

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