Transportation: Update on the State Ten Year Plan Selection Process
The Rockingham Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) is the federally-designated transportation planning agency for 27 communities in southeastern New Hampshire. Serving as a regional partnership among the United States Department of Transportation, New Hampshire Department of Transportation and other state agencies, regional transit agencies, community leadership, local planning and public works officials, the business community, and citizens across the planning area, the MPO leads in the development of the region's Long-Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) and short-range Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) and contributes to ongoing conversations about issues such as land use, economic development, climate change and the environment, safety and security, and public health. The MPO also has a legislatively mandated role in establishing priority projects for the State Ten Year Plan, which weaves between the TIP and LRTP processes. These three documents form the backbone of the transportation planning process in New Hampshire and provide a path for projects to move from concept (LRTP), through project development (State Ten Year Plan), and to implementation (TIP).
The MPO recently selected five candidate projects from the LRTP to be considered for the State Ten Year Plan. At this stage of the process, the projects selected by the MPO have been forwarded to NHDOT for engineering and cost analysis over the next few months. The projects submitted to NHDOT for review were the final section of the East Coast Greenway project across the Hampton Marsh and the rehabilitation or replacement of the Bartlett Bridge in Portsmouth. In addition, safety and capacity improvements are proposed at three intersections; the NH 125/NH 155 intersection in Epping, the NH 27/NH156 intersection in Raymond, and the US 1/NH 111 intersection in North Hampton. The total (inflated) estimated for these five projects is approximately $8.5 million, and it is expected that the NHDOT review will result in cost increases for several of the proposals. The MPO must submit final priorities for this cycle of the State Ten Year Plan by the end of March 2021 and will utilize the feedback from NHDOT to select a set of projects that can best advance transportation planning goals and is constrained to the regional budget target of $6.7 million.