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I-93 Highway Expansion

I-93 Highway Expansion

A Deck Park & Bridge for Concord

 

NHDOT is fast-tracking 20+ year old plans to widen I-93 from 4 to 8 lanes (6 at points) between Bow through Exit 15, due to federal infrastructure funds being released.  I-93 runs right through the middle of our city, exacerbating a socio-economic and racial divide, damaging the urban landscape, dividing resources, limiting sustainable development, and degrading our greatest public resource, the Merrimack river.  

 

At the last major public hearing in 2019, residents made it clear that the state needs to take care to create a redesign that will benefit Concord. The time is now to stand up for our city's 20+ year old vision for a deck park and pedestrian bridge to unify Concord.  A deck park & pedestrian river bridge is a huge economic opportunity for Concord and will effectively unite our city and connect us to the Merrimack River.   

For the deck park to work, NHDOT needs to lay the groundwork for the design during construction to ensure highway expansion does not preclude the city's vision.  NHDOT intends to finalize expansion plans by the end of this year.  Getting a feasibility study done now by a firm specializing in deck parks is key.  If we don't act now the opportunity will be lost forever!  

 

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

 

On Oct 11th, City Council meets with DOT to discuss the expansion plan and the Transportation Policy Advisory Committee's (TPAC) recommendations. This meeting is public, but with NO PUBLIC COMMENT.  It is critical we attend this meeting to show public support for a deck park and river bridge for Concord - bring signs!

  • City Council Meeting - October 11th (RSVP here)!  

THE CITY REQUESTS YOUR FEEDBACK!

 

The Mayor would like Concord residents to answer the following questions below.  You can answer in person at the above meetings or on our website here. We will compile your responses and submit them to the City Clerk as a public document.

  • What does “access”or “connection” to the river mean to you? Is it dipping your toes in the river? Is it launching a boat from a dock? Is it an unobstructed view from a community park? (PS. a deck park will give you access to all three!)

  • What does a Deck Park mean to you? What is the possibility?

  • Would a bridge be sufficient?

We need strong community input now from individuals like YOU!  

WHAT ELSE CAN WE DO ABOUT HIGHWAY EXPANSION?

Our team of experts in engineering and planning helped craft this list of requests for DOT:

  1. Reduce the number of planned highway lanes from 8 to 6 max.

  2. Design the highway with a designated speed at 55 mph not 70 mph.

  3. Design the expansion around the current traffic needs - not outdated data.

  4. Improve safety design at interchanges for bikes/pedestrians.

  5. Reduce the barrier effect of the railroad.

  6. Provide more accommodation and safety considerations for bicyclists and pedestrians especially around multi-lane exits.

  7. Provide barrier protected bike lanes on major commuting routes.

  8. Provide plans clearly demonstrating "transitions" that tell drivers they are leaving the highway and entering a low speed city or neighborhood environment.

  9. Include high quality streetscaping and landscaping at all interchanges.

  10. Engage in a robust public process including workshops & charrettes - MUCH has changed in Concord since 2019!​​​


URGENT NEXT STEPS:

  • Call and write your City Councilors.

  • Show up at the City Council Meeting - October 11th (RSVP here)!  

  • Provide your input on the Community Request page here.

  • Spread the word far and wide!

    • Share this website page via email & social media! 

    • Talk to friends and neighbros! Many residents don’t know the highway expansion plan even exists, much less that it is currently moving forward.

  • Call and write your City Councilors! Example public letter to City Council here.

  • Join the discussion on Facebook.

Resources:

  • Project history & plans here

  • Check out the original deck park plan vision in Concord's Opportunity Master Plan (2005) here.

  • Watch NHDOT's latest expansion proposal presentation here

  • Read Claudia Damon's public letter to City Council here.

  • Read the recent NYTimes article on highway expansion here.

  • Read David Brooks 2-part article on I-93 Expansion in Concord here.

  • TPAC meeting minutes here.

  • Facebook

Join us on Facebook!

 

WHAT IS A DECK PARK?

A deck park (aka highway cap/platform park) is a community park built over a section of highway to connect one side of the highway to the other.  The intention is to minimize the disruption highways cause through a city.  In this photo you see a deck park constructed over the highway to connect the city to its waterfront.  A deck park in Concord would connect, unify, and transform our city. Here's how it might work...

 

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A VISION FOR CONCORD

Imagine a large, community park, surrounded by shops and restaurants stretching down from Storrs Street (Market Basket/Burlington Coat Factory area) OVER the rail and highway to the river. At the river's edge the park transforms into a tree-lined waterfront promenade that looks out over the Merrimack River and cornfields on the other side. This architecturally beautiful promenade is supported by a tall retaining wall on the river's west bank and allows you to enjoy expansive river views while strolling (or rolling) up and down with your loved ones. But wait, it doesn't end there!...

(Photo of Concord Deck Park concept from Concord's Opportunity Corridor Master Plan 2005.)

 

 

SYMBOLIC PEDESTRIAN BRIDGE ACROSS RIVER

From the promenade, a gorgeous, iconic bike/pedestrian bridge reaches across to the east side of the river sloping gently down to the Merrimack River GreenwayTrail. This bridge, a symbol of unifying our city, can be seen from the highway and attracts visitors to stop and spend time (and money) in Concord.

 

Once on the east side of the Merrimack, you delight in dipping your toes in the river before you walk south to Terrill park to rent & launch a kayak or stand-up paddle board. Walk north to connect with the DOTs proposed multi-use path on Loudon Road. Post your mail at USPS and walk home to the Heights on TPAC's innovative, future Gully Hill pedestrian/bike path system.

(Photo shows an example of a tall, riverside retaining wall holding up a city promenade with bike/ped bridge.)

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HOW WILL THIS WORK?

The State's DOT highway expansion and the City's deck park would be two separate projects. But the highway expansion project must lay the groundwork for, and not preclude, the deck park project. That is why it is critical for the City to provide the deck park designs and blueprints to the State A.S.A.P. so DOT can incorporate the deck park into highway expansion work. Getting a feasibility study done now by a firm specializing in deck parks is key!

Sign the request for a Deck Park and feasibility study here!

WHY NOT JUST A BRIDGE?

A bridge over the highway would need to span a far greater distance to go up and over the railway, highway, and the river. The bridge would have to lift 40+ feet in the air hovering over the roaring highway. Imagine how that would feel with the wind and roar underfoot - and smells all around? The mandatory, safety, chain link fences reaching high up on both sides to prevent jumps would be an eyesore. How do you make this accessible for someone in a wheelchair? Would it be an improvement worth the financial cost? A community deck park caps over the rail and highway creates a sense of safety because you are standing in a park - instead of over a highway. A deck park creates a destination to meet and gather to be utilized and celebrated by all.

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I-93 HIGHWAY EXPANSION