NH to hold hearing in Lebanon on 10-Year transportation priorities


Valley News Staff Writer

Published: 09-04-2023 10:01 PM

LEBANON — New Hampshire officials are coming to the Upper Valley later this month to hold a public forum on the state’s 10-Year Transportation Improvement Plan, which is undergoing its biannual update.

The meeting is a chance for residents to weigh in on how the state prioritizes repairs and upgrades to roads, bridges and other transportation infrastructure.

The Lebanon meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 12, is one of about two dozen being held around the state. There is also a public forum scheduled in Claremont on Oct. 2. The final plan will be approved by the Legislature next spring.

As part of the 10-year plan, there are several climate initiatives around the state that could be earmarked for funding. Among the proposed projects is the Mascoma River Greenway in Lebanon.

In 2025, the state is expected to extend the greenway all the way to Route 12A in West Lebanon, which would result in a multipurpose recreation trail that connects the two sides of the city.

The New Hampshire Department of Transportation is recommending funding for the 1.3-mile extension, which would connect the existing sidewalk network at 12A to the current trail terminus at Glen Road near Riverside Park.

The project is estimated to cost about $2.2 million. The state would fund 80% of the project using a federal grant from the Congestion Migration and Air Quality Improvement Program, or CMAQ. The city would contribute a 20% match.

Lebanon City Manager Shaun Mulholland said the new trail project will incorporate two former railroad bridges, which will be upgraded to accommodate pedestrian travel.

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The completed trail would connect at Riverside Park to a 2.3-mile greenway trail that was completed in 2018and extends from West Lebanon to the three-way intersection of Mascoma, Mechanic and High streets in downtown.

This extension will make the Mascoma River Greenway a “more viable” mode of travel for pedestrians and cyclists, providing access to shopping and dining areas on both sides of the city, increasing public safety and recreational opportunities and reducing the city’s reliance on vehicles, Mulholland said in an interview.

Another project related to reducing congestion that is expected to be included is funding for a new park-and-ride commuter lot in Newport.

Other Lebanon projects in the plan include proposed improvements to Hanover Street and a planned roundabout at the intersection of Mechanic Street and Slayton Hill Road.

Some projects in other Upper Valley communities include the new park-and-ride in Newport and repairs to red-list bridges in Sunapee, Lyme, Enfield, Newport and Charlestown. Red-list bridges are designated for regular inspections due to their poor condition. 

The Governor’s Advisory Commission on Intermodal Transit, or GACIT, will hold a hearing in Lebanon on Tuesday, Sept. 12, to gather public feedback on transportation projects and priorities targeted in the proposed 10-year state transportation improvement plan for 2025-2034.

Documents related to the revised 10-year plan are expected to be available on the Department of Transportation website this week. The governor’s approved draft of the 10-year plan will be submitted to the Legislature in January 2024. The Legislature will approve a final version of the plan in June, after making its own revisions.

The hearing in Lebanon will take place at 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 12 in City Hall. The Executive Council and members of the Governor’s Advisory Council on Intermodal Transportation are set to attend. A subsequent hearing in Claremont with the same officials is scheduled for Oct. 2 at 6:30 p.m. at the Claremont Community Center.

Patrick Adrian may be reached at padrian@vnews.com or 603-727-3216.