Another Look at Commuter Rail in N.H.

Mar 8, 2016
lzcdome / Flickr/CC

For years, advocates of commuter rail have pushed the idea of a passenger train connecting Boston with at Nashua and Manchester, and even possibly Concord. But commuter rail has always bumped up against one huge, seemingly immovable object:  money.  It's not cheap to build such a system,  roughly two-hundred-million dollars - and so the argument has long been that it's just not worth it, given all the other priorities New Hampshire has, including roads and bridges that need repair.  However, this year, supporters are continuing their efforts, bolstered by rising business backing in the Southern Tier.  And just recently,  they urged a House Committee to keep four million dollars in the state's transportation plan to fund rail study and planning. 

Dave Fairburn via Facebook

Interstate 93 northbound in Concord is expected to be closed for several hours due to a sinkhole.

Department of Transportation spokesman Bill Boynton says the report came in just after noon, and no injuries were reported.

"The hole is about 20 feet deep, 12 feet long, and 14 feet wide, so a major hole in hole road there that has shutdown northbound traffic," Boynton said.   

He says the DOT and private construction companies are working to address the problem.



Winter usually is a slow season for construction, but the amount of snow and sub-zero temperatures have delayed the project to widen part of Interstate 93 a bit.

The project, expected to be done in 2020, will widen the interstate from the Massachusetts border in Salem to Exit 5 in Manchester.

The Eagle Tribune reports a project manager says from Thanksgiving until late January, things were going smoothly.

Jack Rodolico for NHPR

When all the construction is finally done, Interstate 93 will be wider. And that could be a growth opportunity for central New Hampshire, long viewed as a forgotten sliver of the state.

But how much growth is possible in central New Hampshire, and how much do those communities even want to grow?

On summer evenings, Tom Fredenburg spends time on his dock. He’s lived on Snow Pond in the northern tip of Concord since 1979. "This was the boondocks. It was a schlep to get into Concord," he says.

Dennis Amith via Flickr CC

The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services says there is $2.2 million available this fall for grants to protect drinking water in the southern part of the state.

The money comes from a fund established to offset impacts to wetlands and streams associated with the widening of Interstate 93 between the Massachusetts border in Salem and the I-93/I-293 interchange in Manchester.

North Country representatives were split on a bill that would raise the speed limit on parts of I-93 to 70 miles per hour.

As NHPR reported the bill - HB 146 - passed the House 292-65. It would allow 70 mph from Exit 18 north with the exception of a two-lane stretch through the Franconia Notch.