Extensive I-93 Construction to Take Five Years +

August 8, 2014
Staff photo by S. Aaron Shamshoyan  Department of Transportation Project Engineer Peter Stamnas speaks about the status of Interstate 93 construction from the Massachusetts border north to Manchester.

Staff photo by S. Aaron Shamshoyan Department of Transportation Project Engineer Peter Stamnas speaks about the status of Interstate 93 construction from the Massachusetts border north to Manchester.

by S. Aaron Shamshoyan

At least five more years remain before construction will be completed on Interstate 93 between the Manchester 293 split and the Massachusetts border, but major changes will be seen throughout the process.

The $770 million project is widening the highway to three lanes and allowing for future expansion to a fourth.

Department of Transportation Project Engineer Peter Stamnas said the 20-mile project includes 45 bridges, and park-and-ride facilities at exits two, three and five.

Stamnas said the first of three phases of the project, which included installing park-and-rides, setting up a bus service, installing ITS cameras, and message board displays, has been completed.

“All of the early action projects are complete and we’re greatly working on the mainline priorities,” he said.

Mainline projects include reconstructing red list bridges and eliminating major bottlenecks on the thoroughfare.

Estimated to be completed by 2016, this phase will construct three lanes in each direction from exit 3, south.

This phase of the project will cost $350 million, Stamnas said, adding exit one construction was completed, and the exit three southbound bridge has also been constructed.

North of the area, the exit five interchange is expected to be complete this summer.

Remaining priorities include completing the exit two and Pelham Road work by the end of 2015, exit three south bound and NH Route 111 intersection in 2016, and exit three and NH Route 111a in 2016.

The final phase of the project will address capacity improvements north of exit 3 to exit 5.

Stamnas said funding for that project will come from an increased gas tax.

“Recent passing of SB 367 increased the gas tax by four cents,” he said, adding that would cover the nearly $200 million project.  The project will begin in 2016 and be completed by 2020.

In Salem, work at exit 2 is expected to be completed by 2015, which includes widening of the highway, increasing Pelham Road to eight lanes and replacing two red listed bridges.

Pelham Road will include two trough lanes in and two turning lanes in each direction.  The project “should remove bottlenecks,” Stamnas said.

The ramps previously consisted of a half clover design, but a new configuration will be constructed in a diamond pattern.

The new ramps drivers are currently traveling will be changed as the project is completed.

Stamnas said some of the new ramps are already in place but won’t be open to motorists until other parts of the project are completed.

The northbound on and off ramps are expected to open in August, and the new northbound bridge is expected to open in September.  Southbound ramps will open next spring.

In Windham, Stamnas said a major milestone would be reached when southbound traffic from exit three to exit two is swapped to the new southbound lanes.

“All of the southbound traffic right now is in the future northbound lanes,” he said, adding he anticipates the swap will happen this year.  “We’re really hoping to get three lanes open in the southbound side before the snow flies.”

Drivers can get updated information on the project through the state’s interstate information website, www.rebuildingI93.com.