I-93 Construction Work Continues in Exit 3 Area

by Barbara O’Brien Residents living in Windham and those commuting along the Exit 3 section of the I-93 corridor have been dealing with the massive reconstruction project for five years already. And, although there hasn’t been much progress made in the past several months, construction is ramping up this spring. Department of Transportation (DOT) Project Director Peter Stamnas met with Windham Selectmen earlier this month to discuss upcoming projects. The current phase involving the Exit 3 project includes the relocation of Route 111 (one and a quarter miles to the west of its current location); reconstructing the southbound mainline of Route 93 (a 3 1/2 mile section), as well as construction of the southbound on-ramp for Exit 3. R.S. Audley Construction of Bow, New Hampshire is the contractor handling the work in this area. Most recently, the contractor has been clearing trees from Castleton to Wall Street, along Route 111, as well as blasting five days a week, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. The exception to this schedule is in the area of the Windham Cooperative Kindergarten, where blasting is limited to 6 to 8 p.m., when there are no children on the premises. Stamnas said there are some 300,000 cubic yards of material to be blasted, processed and removed from this area. “We’re trying to minimize the risk wherever we can,” Stamnas told town officials. Of the original 19 bridges that were red-listed along this stretch of I-93, only two remain on the federal red-list. The two bridges currently being worked on include the two southbound bridges over Route 111 and Route 111A. It is anticipated that this bridge work will be concluded by November 2013. Stamnas said the traffic impact during this construction should be minimal, as most of it is off-line. Currently, 54 percent of the Exit 3 reconstruction has either been completed or is in progress, Stamnas said. Plans are to be completely finished with the Exit 3 portion of Route 93 by 2016. A total of five projects are involved in completing the reconstruction work in the Exit 3 area. Total completion of the entire I-93 reconstruction, from the Massachusetts State Line in Salem to Manchester, is currently anticipated to take another 15 years to finish. Selectman Al Letizio, Jr., whose office is located adjacent to the latest construction work at Exit 3, said he has had a front-row seat to the show. Letizio commended the DOT for the excellent job they have been doing thus far, especially in light of Windham having tougher standards than were put in place by the State. Selectman Ross McLeod said he feels that “The DOT has responded well to local concerns.” Already completed in the Exit 3 vicinity are the southbound off-ramp and northbound bridges (total cost of $27.6 million) and the northbound mainline (cost of $30.7 million). In progress is the work on the southbound bridges over Routes 111 and 111A (total cost of $12.1 million) and the southbound mainline, southbound on-ramp and work on Route 111 (total cost of $35.1 million). Anticipated to begin later this year and continue until the summer of 2016 is construction on the northbound mainline and the completion of work on Routes 111 and 111A. Some good news coming out of the ongoing transportation project along I-93, which got underway in 2006, is that the use of area park-and-ride facilities has more than doubled. Currently, an average of 850 vehicles use the park-and-ride facilities on a daily basis. Furthermore, monthly commuter bus ridership has skyrocketed by 56 percent since 2009, to an average of 27,700 passengers per month. “Consequently, the use of bus service and park-and-ride facilities has reduced the peak weekday commuter traffic along the busiest sections of I-93 by more than 5 percent,” according to DOT statistics. The future construction of an Exit 3 Park-and-Ride facility within the State Right-of-Way, located in the existing northbound on-ramp loop area, will not be put out to bid until sometime in 2015, as all roadway construction must be completed first. For further updates on the reconstruction of Interstate 93 go on-line to Contact@RebuildingI93.com or by phone at 271-2171.