Four projects in Derry are on the state Department of Transportation (DOT) 10 year plan. Tim White, principal transportation planner for the Southern New Hampshire Planning Commission (SNHPC), appeared before the Planning Board at its Feb. 20 meeting to update the town on its place in the DOT process and on what the DOT’s priorities are. “These are challenging times to try to construct and maintain infrastructure, with costs rising,” White said.
The current Derry items on the FY 2013-FY 2022 plan include operating assistance and preventive maintenance for CART, the Cooperative Alliance for Regional Transportation; replacement of the bridge over Drew Brook; and the final design engineering for Exit 4-A off Interstate 93. The DOT has two priorities, White said: maintaining the existing infrastructure and dealing with red-list bridges. Widening of I-93 is also a priority, he said. White detailed the process by which a need makes it onto the 10-year plan.
At the beginning of a two year cycle, he said, regional planning commissions or RPCs review projects and evaluate them according to a set of criteria in the fall of “even” years. Projects are ranked by the Transportation Advisory Committee for each RPC. The regional plans are debated and drafted before being passed on to the DOT for evaluation. A draft state wide 10-year-plan is prepared between May and December of the odd year, and reviewed and amended by the Governor’s Advisory Committee on Intermodal Transportation (GACIT). GACIT amends the plan after a series of statewide public hearings, and forwards it to the governor, who reviews the plan and forwards it to the Legislature for consideration and approval.
Public hearings are part of this process, White said, and after adoption by the Legislature, the plans are incorporated into Metropolitan Planning Organizations’ transportation improvement plans, and the cycle begins again.SNHPC is the Metropolitan Planning Organization for the Greater Manchester area, White said. The cycle is beginning for the FY 2015-2024 10 year plan, White said, and SNHP is beginning to receive projects from various communities. He said he has sent a letter to the Derry Town Council requesting a list of Derry’s priorities.
At the end of March, the SNHPC Technical Advisory Committee will begin to review the requests, he said. The DOT has asked the regional planning groups to submit their requests by April 1, he said, so they can put a draft together of the next 10-year plan. Regional projects affecting Derry on the currrent plan include the two CART requests, Exit 4-A, shoulders and drainage on Route 28 in Derry and Londonderry, signalization at English Range Road on the Route 28 Bypass, and the Boston and Maine Rail Corridor bike path/trail.