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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NH News
4:44 pm
Mon March 26, 2012

Sarah Long Bridge Side Railings Hazardous

Another bridge between Portsmouth and Kittery Maine is undergoing emergency repairs.

Side railings on the Sarah Long, or Middle Bridge are so rusty; they present a hazard to any vehicle that accidentally slides into them. So, the two states are taking emergency measures to protect motorists.

Bill Boynton, with New Hampshire’s Department of Transportation, says that steel Jersey Barriers will be installed along the length of the 2800 foot span.

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National Security
4:40 am
Thu March 22, 2012

Cybersecurity Bill: Vital Need Or Just More Rules?

The Homeland Security Department's Control System Security Program facilities in Idaho Falls, Idaho, are intended to protect the nation's power grid, water and communications systems. U.S. security officials and members of Congress are convinced a new law may be needed to promote improved cyberdefenses at critical facilities.
Mark J. Terrill AP

Originally published on Fri March 23, 2012 7:03 am

Consider what Hurricane Katrina did to New Orleans, and you get an idea of the consequences of a cyberattack on critical U.S. infrastructure: No electricity. No water. No transportation. Terrorists or enemy adversaries with computer skills could conceivably take down a power grid, a nuclear station, a water treatment center or a chemical manufacturing plant.

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Latin America
4:04 pm
Tue March 13, 2012

Cruising Over Colombia In A Plane From Another Era

A DC 3 stands ready to take off on the runway in Villavicencio , Colombia.
Carlos Villalon for NPR

Originally published on Thu August 23, 2012 11:41 am

The plane flown by Capt. Ricardo Fajardo has been around for nearly 70 years, ever since it was built in California by the Douglas Aircraft Co. at the height of World War II.

But as a red and orange DC-3 hugs the treetops and skims past the Vaupes River in the remote southeastern corner of Colombia, Fajardo says he wouldn't feel more comfortable in any other plane.

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NH News
7:06 am
Thu March 1, 2012

Heavy Snow Causing Hazardous Roads

Snow outside NHPR studios

After a mild winter with little snow, New Hampshire is being hit with a late-season storm.

The National Weather Service says up to a foot of snow is expected in some areas by this evening.    

There are more than 200 closings, although most schools are closed due to winter break.

New Hampshire Department of Transportation says drivers should take extra precautions.

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U.S.
12:01 am
Mon February 20, 2012

Pounding Pavement In Search Of A Smoother Drive

The University of California Pavement Research Center in Davis works on creating longer lasting, quieter and more fuel-efficient pavement. Above, samples of asphalt being tested at the center.
Lauren Sommer KQED

A sweeping transportation bill being debated in Congress addresses how to prop up dwindling funds for the nation's aging highways. States with their own budget shortfalls are facing the same challenge. In California, researchers are trying to stretch those resources by developing next-generation pavements that are quieter and more fuel-efficient to drive on.

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Word of Mouth - Segment
11:22 am
Wed February 15, 2012

Online Security Threatens the Offline World

Photo by F H Mira, courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

“Critical infrastructure” once referred to things like roads, bridges and power plants. But today, the term includes the unseen digital networks that control our visible world. An easy way to protect this infrastructure from hackers is to simply keep it disconnected from the internet, but it turns out many of those systems indeed are connected to the web, unbeknownst to the people that operate them. Joining me to talk about this is Kim Zetter, senior writer for Wired.

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NH News
4:52 pm
Wed February 8, 2012

Memorial Bridge "Float Out" Begins

Roger Wood

Removal of the historic Memorial Bridge between Portsmouth and Kittery, Maine is finally underway. 

Shortly after noon-time Wednesday, the center lift-span was lowered into position to be placed on a barge.

(Memorial Bridge photos by Erik Swenson, view gallery on flickr.)

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NH News
4:41 pm
Mon February 6, 2012

Demolition of Memorial Bridge Begins With "Float Out"

Photo: Roger Wood

The demolition of the Memorial Bridge begins Tuesday. The 90-year-old lift bridge, which crosses the Piscataqua River between Portsmouth and Kittery Maine, has long been in a state of disrepair.

The bridge closed permanently to vehicle traffic in July of last year.

Weather and barge setup permitting, the removal and “float out” of the lift span of the Memorial Bridge is expected to begin Tuesday morning at 9:00 a.m.

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The Exchange
9:00 am
Thu January 26, 2012

New Hampshire's Transportation Commissioner: Christopher Clement

Transportation Commissioner, Christopher Clement

New Hampshire’s new Transportation Commissioner, Christopher Clement came to the job at a tough time for the department. There were lots of projects on the table but not a lot of money to complete them with.  Today, we talk with him about his priorities and some of the hot topics his department faces from the expansion of I-93 to the debate over rail to those red-listed bridges.  

Guest

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StateImpact
4:12 pm
Tue December 20, 2011

Questions Over I-93 Funding Creates Economic Uncertainty

The state commissioner of transportation warns that if the federal government moves ahead with a plan to cut $40 million of New Hampshire’s yearly highway funds—the completion of I-93 will be placed on hold, indefinitely.  One portion that remains unfinished is exit 3 near Windham.

Many businesses there say the uncertainty of I-93’s future is hurting the local economy.

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Something Wild
8:00 am
Mon December 19, 2011

Moose Plates

I admit to being a distracted driver at times, but it's not for the usual reasons. I'm looking for moose, but not the kind wildlife biologists usually look for. I'm looking for a small moose on car license plates.

For ten years now New Hampshire's moose license plates have raised significant funds for conservation of both historic and natural resources. Land has been conserved; loons and other endangered species protected; nature education brought into classrooms; historic buildings and covered bridges fixed up along with buildings in our state parks.

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All Things Considered
12:43 pm
Fri December 16, 2011

Downeaster Train Service Turns Ten

Downeaster train.
Voluntary Amputation via Flickr/Creative Commons

This week officials with Amtrak’s Downeaster marked ten years in service.

The train line between Portland, Maine and Boston includes several stops in New Hampshire. Ridership is up and there are plans to expand the service next year.

Peter Griffin is president of the New Hampshire Railroad Revitalization Association. He tells All Things Considered host Brady Carlson about the Downeaster's ten years in service.

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