Lack of adequate drainage, narrow road cross section and right of way width have long been significant challenges to reconstruction of this busy roadway. The City has obtained a State/Federal grant to help fund improvements that will link the Middle Road/Portsmouth Plains area to the Route 1 corridor. The State funding for the project comes from the Federal Congestion Management and Air Quality program. The funding requires that the project be separated into distinct phases of Engineering/Conceptual Design, Preliminary Design, Final Design, and Construction. State and Federal review and approval of each phase of the project is required before the City can receive additional funding to proceed on to the next phase of the project.
Based on public comments and feedback during the Conceptual Design stage, the preferred alternative provides a shared-use (bicycle and pedestrian) path on the south side of the roadway, and a sidewalk along the north side of the road.
During the Preliminary Design stage, the City is developing plans to address resident comments received at the last public meeting in March 2019. These revisions require additional field surveying and an increase in the project scope and fee. This request has now been approved by the NH DOT so the surveying can take place, as weather conditions permit.
Once the revised plans are completed, another public meeting will be held to present the changes and then the revised Preliminary Design plans will be submitted to the DOT for review and approval.
Then, after NH DOT gives their approval on the Preliminary Design plans, the right-of-way process can begin, to obtain the necessary easements and land required to construct the project. Preparation of the Final Design plans would also commence at this time. It is expected that the right-of-way process and Final Design will take approximately a year, with construction possibly beginning as soon as 2021.