Infrastructure | New Hampshire Public Radio

Infrastructure

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Eversource has notified the state that it plans to power up its new Seacoast transmission line at the end of this month, on May 29.

The Seacoast Reliability Project runs about 13 miles between Madbury and Portsmouth, with a mile buried underwater beneath Little Bay, between Durham and Newington.

Eversource proposed the project in 2015 as part of its response to a call for more reliable infrastructure from the regional grid operator, ISO-New England. The utility says the line will help carry electric load and back up other transmission lines in the area.

NHPR Staff

Lawmakers on Tuesday heard two opposing plans for bolstering state highway revenues, in response to a decline in gas tax revenue and road maintenance funding as vehicles get more efficient or go electric.

Hobo & Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroads - Facebook

Railroad proponents are pushing back on a proposal to remove existing train tracks near Laconia to make way for a long-planned rail trail extension.

Stewards of Laconia's nine-mile WOW trail, named for nearby water bodies, hope to someday extend the paved bike and pedestrian path over nearby rail corridors and other existing trails so that it would seamlessly connect Franklin and Weirs Beach.

Great Plains Institute

New Hampshire will soon build high-speed electric vehicle charging stations along major state roadways.

Officials have put out a request for proposals to construct the charging areas over the next 18 months, with some online by the end of next year. 

The state will put up $2 million for the project, drawn from its settlement in the Volkswagen emissions tampering case.

Joanne Glode / Nature Conservancy

New Hampshire’s coastal towns are beginning to think about adapting to climate change. It’ll mean finding new ways to protect critical pieces of infrastructure from rising seas, heavier rains and stronger storms.

NHPR’s Annie Ropeik has this story of the lessons from a major road project in Newmarket that’s one of the first in the state to focus on climate resilience.


Ruin Raider via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/8uzPPU

New research from the University of New Hampshire recommends that the state should invest in thicker asphalt roads. The state's roads are likely to see more damage due to rising temperatures and sea levels.

When asphalt is exposed to hotter springs and summers, it's more likely to crack under the weight of vehicles and create rougher surfaces. Damaged roads can lead to reduced fuel efficiency, more safety hazards and more traffic due to construction and road closures.

Via New England Southern Railroad

New Hampshire's oldest short-line railroad has been sold to a Las Vegas-based railroad consolidator.

New England Southern, which leases the century-old rail line that runs from Concord and heads north, was formed after regional giant Boston and Maine Railroad went bankrupt in the 1970s and began abandoning rail lines.

The Concord Monitor reports the railroad has been bought by United Rail.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Last weekend's winter storm caused only moderate flooding on New Hampshire's Seacoast. But it provided a window into how rising seas will make flooding more frequent, bringing challenges to the state's coastal communities.

Chris Jensen

The U.S. government released its Fourth National Climate Assessment report at the end of last week that shows the effects of climate change are already here – both in New England and all over the country.

Jennifer Jacobs is a professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of New Hampshire, and she’s the lead author on that report’s chapter on transportation and infrastructure.

Morning Edition Host Rick Ganley spoke with Jacobs about her work and what it means for New Hampshire.

Andreas Levers via Flickr CC

New Hampshire will get more than $11 million from the Environmental Protection Agency this year for drinking water infrastructure upgrades.

The state gets at least $8 million a year from the federal Drinking Water State Revolving Fund. The allocation is higher this year, despite recent cuts to the program by Congress.

Eversource/Business Wire

Eversource is currently trying to buy its second water company in the past year.

The region’s biggest electric utility hopes to provide water service to hundreds of thousands of customers across four New England states.

It would still be a small swath of the overall water system – but that could change. 

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen says an Interstate 89 bridge project that crosses the Connecticut River into Vermont is getting $10 million in federal funding.

Shaheen, a Democrat, said Tuesday the funds would rehabilitate bridges that carry northbound and southbound traffic between Lebanon, New Hampshire, and Hartford, Vermont.

New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services officials say they've identified key issues with a dam in Durham, and they are calling on the town to address the issues within three months.

A Feb. 12 letter from the department to the town highlights flaws like concrete degradation and exposed rebar in the Mill Pond Dam that were uncovered during a December inspection. Foster's Daily Democrat reports the letter calls on Durham to conduct its own inspection by the beginning of May, and to repair or reconstruct the dam by 2020.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

Several dozen people attended a public hearing Monday evening in Portsmouth to weigh in on a proposed increase in the state’s highway tolls.

Doug Kerr/Flickr

Members of the Executive Council could vote next week on the first broad increase in the state’s highway tolls in more than a decade. The plan would spare in-state commuters the brunt of the hikes.

Under a proposal, the cash toll rate on I-93 in Hooksett would go from $1.00 to $1.50. On the Spaulding Turnpike, the Dover and Rochester tolls would rise to $1.00 from $0.75. In Hampton, the Interstate 95 toll would increase from $2.00 to $2.50.

Petr Kratochvil / Wikimedia Commons

Research from University of New Hampshire released last week, shows that more than 60 percent of New Hampshire residents would support an increase to the state gas tax to maintain infrastructure. But most people have no idea what the gas tax is now.

Larry Hamilton is one of the researchers and a professor of sociology at UNH. Morning Edition Host Rick Ganley spoke with him about the report.

What is the current gas tax? Since most of the people you talked to had no idea.

Stanley Zimny via Flickr/CC - http://ow.ly/KsGVQ

The New Hampshire Department of Transportation is deciding whether to proceed with the Conway Bypass, while struggling with a lack of funds to complete the project.

Morning Edition Host Rick Ganley spoke with William Cass, the Assistant Commissioner and Chief Engineer for the department on the future of the project.


Steve Hooper; The Keene Sentinal

Hurricane Harvey slammed the Gulf Coast last week, and it got us thinking: How ready is New Hampshire for major storms, hurricanes, and floods?

Perry Plummer, Director of the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management for the New Hampshire Department of Safety, says the state has plenty of work to do to ensure our infrastructure can handle the kind of extreme weather events that are becoming increasingly common.

"We know more water is coming; we’re going to get these types of rain storms," Plummer said on The Exchange. "Obviously, I don’t think we’ll get a Harvey in New Hampshire, but we are going to get 10 and 15 inches of rain, and that’s going to challenge our infrastructure. We need to rebuild our infrastructure to protect our residents, protect our critical infrastructure." 

N.H. DOT Will Expedite Bridge Work After Accident In Derry

Aug 31, 2017
Courtesy of the DOT

Officials at the Department of Transportation are fast-tracking inspections on 16 of the state’s “red listed” bridges. That's after a piece of concrete fell off one of the bridges over I-93 in Derry on Monday.

images-of-new-hampshire-history.com

The Northern Border Regional Commission has awarded more than $2.2 million in federal funds to 13 development projects across New Hampshire.

The projects range from a septic wastewater treatment station in Whitefield to parking in Lancaster to improve access to an island nature area.

The New Hampshire congressional delegation on Friday announced the funding, made available after Congress secured a $5 million increase in funding.

The border commission is a federal-state partnership.

Sheryl Rich-Kern for NHPR

New Hampshire towns and cities are getting $30 million for road and bridge improvements under an infrastructure bill signed by Republican Gov. Chris Sununu.

The governor's office on Monday announced the amount of money each community will receive in infrastructure grants. The grants range from just under $1,800 for Hart's Location to more than $1.7 million for Manchester. The average grant is $128,205.

Sununu says the money is a key first step in rebuilding the state's infrastructure and will allow communities to provide tax relief.

Adam Fagen/Flickr

Manchester-Boston Regional Airport is getting $3.5 million in federal funds to reconstruct and relocate several taxiways.

Wikimedia Commons

The New Hampshire Department of Transportation and its counterpart in Vermont are considering repairs to a bridge between the two states that’s been closed since 2009. The Vilas Bridge was built in 1930 and stretches over the Connecticut River between North Walpole, N.H. and Bellows Falls, Vt.

The Otter, Flickr

By the end of this century, scientists predict the ocean on New Hampshire’s coast will rise anywhere between 4 and 6.5 feet above where it is today—a consequence of climate change. But when the sea rises, groundwater rises to keep up. That would spell trouble for roadways, even roads inland from the ocean, according to a new study from UNH.

Wikimedia Commons

The Exchange discussed New Hampshire's infrastructure issues over a series of shows this year. The American Society of Civil Engineers released their 2017 report card in March, giving New Hampshire a C- overall, with further grades for specific categories, including roads, dams, and drinking water.

Read on for highlights and links to each show, and also for links to additional coverage of New Hampshire's infrastructure. 

US EPA

The American Society of Civil Engineers recently gave the Granite State a C-minus on its 2017 report card...But aging systems, drought, and such contaminants as PFOAs raise questions about how best to repair our drinking water systems, and how to afford it. 


NHPR/Hannah McCarthy

New Hampshire’s deteriorating roads and bridges - and how to invest in them - are major questions for lawmakers this year. But whatever the funding, one critical piece of the state’s infrastructure – private dams – likely won’t see a penny.  

www.infrastructurereportcard.org

The American Society of Civil Engineers has released their 2017 report card on New Hampshire’s infrastructure -- and the state is far from the honor roll.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The New Hampshire Senate has passed a measure to send nearly $37 million to cities and towns to repair roads and bridges.

The bill passed unanimously. Gov. Chris Sununu included a similar proposal in his budget plan. 

Senator Lou D’Allesandro told his colleagues on the floor Thursday it’s time the state helped local communities with their building projects. 

Broadband Development in the Granite State

Mar 14, 2017
Tony Webster

Broadband, which connects homes, businesses, and schools to high speed internet, has been developing throughout the state, including in rural areas for several years. Which areas are still lacking access, and why? What is the importance of providing proper internet access to schools and places where businesses will develop? We'll delve into how broadband infrastructure works, and where it is working, in New Hampshire.


Pages