Transportation

New Hampshire’s Department of Transportation has suspended the installation of a potentially faulty guardrail end unit, but officials say they’re waiting for more information before removing the 1,300 units already installed.

Department of Transportation spokesman Bill Boynton says the state has been installing the Trinity ET-Plus pieces for nearly a decade.

“These are devices that are meant to absorb energy and basically give and have the guard rail attached it to collapse and veer away from it if the end unit is hit.”

Commuting To Boston: The Daily Exodus Out Of N.H.

Sep 17, 2014
Bricky Cement / Flickr/CC

More than eighty-thousand Granite Staters travel to the Bay State for work, a fact that’s been cited as both an economic boon and drawback for New Hampshire. While both views could be valid, there are other impacts too: work-life balance and community involvement can take a hit when people spend a long time commuting.

GUESTS:

New Hampshire drivers can once again get new vanity plates, now that the state's Division of Motor Vehicles has put into place a new rule guiding which plates it will reject.

The state had put a temporary halt on issuing vanity plates, following a state Supreme Court ruling in May found the DMV’s old rule barring plates that may be offensive was too vague.

The new rule is more specific.

For example, the state will now reject vanity plates that contain profanity, references to violence, or illegal activity.

Via Flickr CC

As you're paying more at the pump today, you may be wondering where all that extra money is going.

New Hampshire's 4.2 cent increase to the state's gas tax goes into effect July 1.

The increase, the first since 1991, is expected to generate an additional $32 million annually for the state's Department of Transportation.

The legislation that enacted the increase mandates that 42 percent of that money go towards bonding for the widening of Interstate 93.

Ian Ligget via Flickr CC

Legislative negotiators have reached a tentative agreement on a 10-year highway plan for New Hampshire.

The House and Senate still must vote on Friday's agreement, which is one of two measures aimed at making needed highway improvements. Gov. Maggie Hassan signed a 4-cent increase on the gas and diesel tax into law this week. Tax proceeds will pay $200 million of the $250 million needed to finish expanding Interstate 93 from the Massachusetts border to Manchester.

NHPR News Primer: N.H.'s Cell Phone Ban

May 12, 2014
Sara Plourde

Gov. Maggie Hassan is expected to sign legislation making it illegal to use a hand-held cell phone while driving or stopped in traffic.

The bill, passed by the New Hampshire House last week, represents “the most comprehensive distracted driving bill in the nation,” according to legislative testimony from Earl Sweeney, assistant commissioner of public safety.

News Primer: N.H.'s Cell Phone Ban

Apr 15, 2014

Gov. Maggie Hassan is expected to sign legislation making it illegal to use a hand-held cell phone while driving or stopped in traffic.

The bill, passed by the New Hampshire House last week, represents “the most comprehensive distracted driving bill in the nation,” according to legislative testimony from Earl Sweeney, assistant commissioner of public safety.

Distracted Driving In N.H.

Mar 13, 2014
epSos.de / Flickr Creative Commons

The legislature looks at limits on texting and talking while behind the wheel.  We’re looking at the current bill in New Hampshire, and some of the research and debate on this issue nationally.

GUESTS:

rob.ewart / Flickr Creative Commons

New Hampshire Transportation Commissioner Christopher Clement has long pointed out that when it comes to our infrastructure, we’re not doing too well. Nearly 40% of the state’s roads are considered in poor condition, and almost one hundred and fifty bridges are red listed. Although Clement remains ‘revenue agnostic’ over where the funding comes from, others have a clear idea: raising the gas tax, which hasn’t been raised in New Hampshire in over twenty years.  Supporters say this would be the most comprehensive and fair solution.

Department of Safety Road Toll Bureau

A year after failing to agree on how to pay for a long list of road and bridge improvements, lawmakers will take another shot at bolstering the state’s chronically underfunded infrastructure this session.

Several bills are on the table, including one that would channel proceeds from a casino into the state’s highway fund.

N.H. Roads: How Did We Get Here?

Jan 6, 2014
NHDOT

As discussed on The Exchange this morning, the state legislature is gearing up once again for a debate about raising the gas tax. One big issue behind the debate is the deteriorating state of New Hampshire's roads.

Here is a look back at some reporting on the issue by Emily Corwin last spring, including this video explainer, and below, five reasons our roads are deteriorating.

Some areas of New Hampshire are dealing with icy road conditions, as freezing rain continues through the morning.

The New Hampshire Department of Transportation says it will close the Spaulding Turnpike Exit 3 southbound off-ramp in Newington for two weeks in January.

NHPR / Michael Brindley

Town councilors in Merrimack have voted in favor of pursuing a lawsuit against the state in an attempt to get relief from toll booths.

NHPR / Michael Brindley

A House committee has voted unanimously to reject the latest effort to remove at least one of the toll booths along the F.E. Everett Turnpike exit ramps in Merrimack.

The 15-0 vote came during a Public Works and Highways committee meeting on Wednesday.

Former Senate President Peter Bragdon sponsored the bill, which would have removed the ramp tolls at Exit 12.

But committee members say the issue should instead be discussed as part of the state’s 10-year highway improvement plan.

We sit down with New Hampshire Transportation Commissioner Chris Clement.  It’s been a busy summer for him.  He’s overseen the celebrated opening of the Memorial Bridge…and continues to search for money…to complete the widening of I-93.  Meanwhile, there’s talk of freight rail expansion in the North Country…and new passenger airline service coming to the Seacoast. 

Guest:

  • Christopher Clement - Commissioner for the New Hampshire Department of Transportation.

Video - N.H. Roads: How We Got Here

Apr 2, 2013

As lawmakers consider raising the state's gas tax, you may be wondering: are New Hampshire's roads getting worse? Why are they getting harder to pay for? And, does it really matter if we have a few more potholes?

NHPR's newsroom answers those questions in this animation:

Today, we sit down  with the Department of Transportation Commissioner, Christopher Clement, covering everything from road and toll projects to ways of funding transportation improvements and taking a look at what Commissioner Clement hopes to accomplish in 2013.

Guest:

Christopher Clement - Commissioner of the NH Department of Transportation

Andrew Karjuta / Flickr Creative Commons

It’s been an uneasy relationship, with cyclists saying cars rule the roads, and drivers saying cyclists flout the law. In recent years, these groups have made some headway when it comes to relations, with more bike lanes and more education on avoiding collisions. But conflicts still flare up and many say there’s still plenty of room for improvement.  

Guests:

Larry Keniston: Intermodal Facilities Engineer, Rail and Transit Bureau, N.H. Department of Transportation.

Todd Bookman / NHPR

Greyhound used to be the symbol of American mobility; of transportation for all. To prove it, they made killer commercials.

…Go Greyhound and leave the driving to us !! America is discovering the comfort and convenience of Greyhound…   [jingle]

Major Accident Shuts Down Parts of Route 101

Apr 12, 2012

Parts of Route 101 are closed following a serious accident near Auburn.

NHPR's Dan Gorenstein was in the area; he says state officials closed the road after Exit 2 and traffic was at a standstill.

WMUR is reporting a person was trapped in a car, and that officials were keeping the road closed to bring emergency vehicles and a rescue helicopter onto the scene.

jphilipg via Flickr Creative Commons

You can add transportation to the long list of issues hitting a roadblock in Washington. Funding for New Hampshire’s I-93 expansion may get stuck in the beltway traffic jam.

Another bridge between Portsmouth and Kittery Maine is undergoing emergency repairs.

Side railings on the Sarah Long, or Middle Bridge are so rusty; they present a hazard to any vehicle that accidentally slides into them. So, the two states are taking emergency measures to protect motorists.

Bill Boynton, with New Hampshire’s Department of Transportation, says that steel Jersey Barriers will be installed along the length of the 2800 foot span.

The plane flown by Capt. Ricardo Fajardo has been around for nearly 70 years, ever since it was built in California by the Douglas Aircraft Co. at the height of World War II.

But as a red and orange DC-3 hugs the treetops and skims past the Vaupes River in the remote southeastern corner of Colombia, Fajardo says he wouldn't feel more comfortable in any other plane.

Roger Wood

Removal of the historic Memorial Bridge between Portsmouth and Kittery, Maine is finally underway. 

Shortly after noon-time Wednesday, the center lift-span was lowered into position to be placed on a barge.

(Memorial Bridge photos by Erik Swenson, view gallery on flickr.)

Photo: Roger Wood

The demolition of the Memorial Bridge begins Tuesday. The 90-year-old lift bridge, which crosses the Piscataqua River between Portsmouth and Kittery Maine, has long been in a state of disrepair.

The bridge closed permanently to vehicle traffic in July of last year.

Weather and barge setup permitting, the removal and “float out” of the lift span of the Memorial Bridge is expected to begin Tuesday morning at 9:00 a.m.

New Hampshire’s new Transportation Commissioner, Christopher Clement came to the job at a tough time for the department. There were lots of projects on the table but not a lot of money to complete them with.  Today, we talk with him about his priorities and some of the hot topics his department faces from the expansion of I-93 to the debate over rail to those red-listed bridges.  

Guest

The state commissioner of transportation warns that if the federal government moves ahead with a plan to cut $40 million of New Hampshire’s yearly highway funds—the completion of I-93 will be placed on hold, indefinitely.  One portion that remains unfinished is exit 3 near Windham.

Many businesses there say the uncertainty of I-93’s future is hurting the local economy.

Moose Plates

Dec 19, 2011

I admit to being a distracted driver at times, but it's not for the usual reasons. I'm looking for moose, but not the kind wildlife biologists usually look for. I'm looking for a small moose on car license plates.

For ten years now New Hampshire's moose license plates have raised significant funds for conservation of both historic and natural resources. Land has been conserved; loons and other endangered species protected; nature education brought into classrooms; historic buildings and covered bridges fixed up along with buildings in our state parks.

Downeaster Train Service Turns Ten

Dec 16, 2011
Voluntary Amputation via Flickr/Creative Commons - http://www.flickr.com/photos/photopunk13/565984437/in/photostream/

This week officials with Amtrak’s Downeaster marked ten years in service.

The train line between Portland, Maine and Boston includes several stops in New Hampshire. Ridership is up and there are plans to expand the service next year.

Peter Griffin is president of the New Hampshire Railroad Revitalization Association. He tells All Things Considered host Brady Carlson about the Downeaster's ten years in service.

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