New Hampshire's Infrastructure

Some Facts About New Hampshire’s Infrastructure:

New Hampshire has approximately 17,000 miles of state and town roads, turnpikes and interstate highways. There are 3,795 bridges in the state. As of 2010, the New Hampshire Department of Transportation plowed more than 800 lane miles of roads and put down 180,000 tons of salt for snow and ice control annually.

The state was given a “C” grade by the American Society of Civil Engineers for the condition of its roads and bridges. New Hampshire was rated among the worst in the country for the poor condition of its bridges by Transportation For America. On average, bridges are older in New Hampshire than those in the rest of the country.  There are hundreds of bridges on the so-called “red list,” which means that the bridges have major structural problems and need to be repaired or replaced.

The state also has a poor record when it comes to public transportation. New Hampshire has no comprehensive rail system and is rated 42nd in terms of investment in public transportation according to the State Department of Transportation.

The majority of New Hampshire’s infrastructure funding comes from vehicle registration fees and gas taxes. The state takes out fewer bond loans than other states and considers its funding a “pay as you go” system.  The gas tax, the lowest in New England, has not been raised since 1991. The 2011 Legislature did away with a motor vehicle fee increase.  That change has meant more $30 million a year in cuts to DOT.

The $800 million expansion of I-93 from Salem to Manchester began in 2006, but has been delayed several times because of a lack of funding. Supporters of the expansion say it will update one of the country’s most congested highways and bring needed tourism revenue to the more isolated and less economically robust northern part of the state. Traffic on I-93 has increased 600 percent since the highway was built in the 1960s and approximately 80,000 cars now drive on it each day.

Summary provided by StateImpact NH

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  Amtrak officials say the Downeaster train line has improved its reliability this year, following delays and other issues in 2015. 

Another phase of the expansion of Interstate 93 begins today. 

Some Vermont officials unhappy over a standstill with New Hampshire over a long-closed, deteriorating bridge connecting both states are suggesting that a federal judge step in to fix things.

Closed since 2009, the 86-year-old Vilas Bridge over the Connecticut River was built between Walpole, New Hampshire, and Bellows Falls, Vermont.

The New Hampshire Preservation Alliance said it's the last remaining concrete arch bridge of its type in the state, and put it on its annual list of structures to save in 2012.

Mack Male via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/nh5sxm

Rifles or ruffles? Guns or glitter? Today, themed gender reveal parties are a growing trend among expectant parents...how does all the fanfare over proclaiming an unborn child's sex fit into the evolving conversation about gender identity?     

Then, a new surprisingly accurate metric emerges for determining if a tech company's bubble is about to burst. It has nothing to do with stocks or quarterly earnings reports - the answer might be in your basement.

The state begins several bridge repair projects this week. 

Muffet / Flickr Creative Commons

A malfunction during a lift opening on the Sarah Mildred Long Bridge in Portsmouth was to blame for a 2-hour closure of the bridge that passes over the Piscataqua River into Maine.

State Department of Transportation spokesman Bill Boynton tells The Portsmouth Herald that a span lock on the bridge malfunctioned Wednesday during a 5 p.m. lift opening. Travelers along the U.S. Route 1 Bypass encountered bridge gates that remained closed and a traffic light that refused to turn green.

N.H. Department of Transportation Website

 About 700 miles of New Hampshire highways will be repaved or maintained this year, according to the state Department of Transportation.

It's the third straight year the DOT has increased its paving work.

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  The Memorial Bridge will be closed to all traffic for part of the day Tuesday. 

Gloconda Beekman / Flickr/CC

After the Flint, Michigan water crisis, many around the country started taking a closer look their own water systems. And with a recent contamination scare in southern New Hampshire by the chemical PFOA  - the concerns have become local.  We'll look at the state's sources for drinking water, and the challenges to delivering it free from contaminants.

Manchester-Boston Regional Airport Tower
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Manchester Boston Regional Airport is upgrading its terminal. 

Brady Carlson / NHPR

  Nashua Mayor Jim Donchess is hosting an event tonight to highlight a proposed commuter rail service between southern New Hampshire and Boston. 

Via Flickr CC

New Hampshire gas prices have continued to drop in recent weeks, though they may start to slowly rise over the coming weeks. 

Railroad Crossing
Photo by Tim Cummins via Flickr Creative Commons

Passenger rail advocates are holding a news conference today in Concord. They’re hoping the state will begin a planning process for a rail line between Manchester and Boston. 

flickr/bcgrote

  The state is planning bridge work today in Manchester. 

Allegra Boverman, NHPR

A group of New Hampshire mayors and mayors-elect rallied around Hillary Clinton’s newly released infrastructure plan Monday, expressing optimism that the Democratic presidential candidate’s proposals will provide a long-awaited boost to local development.

Road construction. File photo.
Virginia DOT - http://ow.ly/UFTk4

  State transportation officials are holding a public meeting this afternoon in Stewartstown about plans to replace a bridge on state Route 145. 

Railroad Crossing
Photo by Tim Cummins via Flickr Creative Commons

  Two Democratic Executive Councilors are outlining a proposal they say could fund passenger rail service between Manchester and Boston.

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The city of Keene has installed a new charging station for electric cars.

Railroad Crossing
Photo by Tim Cummins via Flickr Creative Commons

Advocates for expanding passenger rail in southern New Hampshire are gathering in Nashua today.

The Regional Passenger Rail Summit will include presentations by federal, state and regional transportation officials about current projects and the economic impact of passenger rail systems.

Michael Izbicki, chair of the New Hampshire Rail Transit Authority, says advocates are hoping more people will support rail as they hear about its potential benefits:

construction-institute.org

  Governor Maggie Hassan will swear in the state’s new Transportation Commissioner today.

Victoria Sheehan of Nashua served in a number of roles for the Massachusetts Department of transportation, most recently coordinating the highway division's five-year, $5 billion capital plan and $600 million annual operating budget.

The Executive Council confirmed Sheehan in September.

She succeeds Chris Clement, who stepped down as commissioner in December to take a position with the University of New Hampshire.

flickr/bcgrote

 

As the state works on the next 10-year transportation plan, Gov. Maggie Hassan wants a long-awaited Interstate 93 exit in the congested areas of Londonderry and Derry to be a priority.

In a letter to town officials, Hassan said she plans to work with the Department of Transportation to look at ways to place a higher priority and accelerate the Exit 4A project as part of the I-93 expansion.

Bill Boynton, department spokesman, said Thursday the project is fully funded in the draft 10-year plan. He said the department is prepared to work with the towns to advance it.

The Department of Transportation will conduct road work in Plymouth this week.

DOT crews will conduct repairs on Fairground Road starting Tuesday morning.

The road will be closed to vehicles for up to four days from Welch Road west to US Route 3.

Following the repairs, the state says traffic on Fairground Road will run on one lane only. 

The state Department of Transportation is planning work tonight in Newington.

Officials say crews will put up a new overhead sign structure on the Spaulding Turnpike between Exit 4 and the Little Bay Bridge.

Work on the project is expected to take a single night. Crews will begin at about 9 pm, with temporary lane closures and rolling roadblocks in both directions possible until about 4 am Tuesday.

new Hampshire Department of Transportation

The costs are in for repairing the sinkhole that opened up last month on northbound Interstate 93 in Concord.

The Concord Monitor reports the state’s cost for highway repairs comes to about $95 thousand dollars. The city of Concord is spending about $125 thousand dollars to fix its drainage system. The sinkhole opened after the collapse of a drainpipe underneath the road.

flickr/Virginia Department of Transportation

New Hampshire E-ZPass customers now have more time to replace their old transponders before losing out on the discounted toll rate.

State transportation officials say those with non-working transponders will be charged the full rate after Nov. 1.

The department pushed back the original date of Sept. 1, after overwhelming customer response and long lines at the state’s three E-ZPass service centers.

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Gas prices may continue to fall in New Hampshire for much of the rest of 2015.

The latest survey of gas prices from GasBuddy.com Sunday showed a median price of $2.53 per gallon. That’s 6 cents per gallon cheaper than prices of a week ago, and 17 cents per gallon below those of a month ago.

The state Department of Transportation is set to begin work Monday on replacing a bridge on Route 26 in Millsfield.

DOT engineer Andy Hall says the bridge over Clear Stream has been showing signs of wear.

“We’re going to repair some undermining underneath the wing walls of the bridge,” Hall says. “Then we’re going to remove the bridge, a half at a time, the top of it, and put back new beams and a new bridge deck.”

The work is expected to continue through November. There will be one-way alternating traffic directed by temporary signals throughout the project.

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