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Officials make push to fund Pettengill

Union Leader Correspondent

June 13. 2013 10:05PM

LONDONDERRY — Town officials are crossing their fingers after submitting an application for federal funding toward the long-awaited Pettengill Road project.

On Wednesday evening, Town Planner Cynthia May said an application for an $8.2 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant was submitted June 2.

May said the town wouldn’t likely learn of its status until sometime this fall.

According to acting Town Manager Bill Hart, the construction at Pettengill Road is expected to bring up to 10,000 new jobs to the area.

Hart said the town is asking for full funding, though he admitted the chance of that happening is slim.

“Historically, federal dollars have been no more than 40 percent of a total project’s cost,” Hart said.

“It’s a long shot because we don’t have the matching funds right now,” May added.

The application package includes letters voicing support for Pettengill Road from U.S. Sens. Kelly Ayotte and Jean Shaheen, Congresswomen Carol Shea Porter and Annie Kuster, Gov. Maggie Hassan and state Sen. Sharon Carson, among others.

The state Department of Transportation, Southern New Hampshire Planning Commission and several major area businesses, including the Manchester-Boston Regional Airport, have also endorsed the project, according to Hart, as has the Londonderry Town Council.

“The Town Council has made it clear in discussions about economic development that finding the funding for the construction of the Pettengill Road is job one,” Hart said. “With this direction, we made a full-court press to submit a sound and compelling application. We are convinced that the project’s readiness and huge job impacts should make it competitive.”

The town of Londonderry unsuccessfully attempted to obtain similar funding several years ago, but Hart said that application predated the construction of the Airport Access Road, and the town wasn’t quite ready at the time to proceed with necessary sewer improvements.

“That was more speculative then — build it and maybe the jobs will come,” Hart added. “We know now that there is real demand for this industrial area if we can collectively find a way to finance the connector.”

“If funded, this would be a great step towards some much-needed job opportunities for our region,” he said.

If approved for the funding this fall, staff from Londonderry’s Public Works Department would oversee the start of construction sometime next spring.

In 1999, the town of Londonderry began working with state and airport officials, as well as local land owners, to develop the design for the Pettengill Road project.

A 2004 traffic study found that there was a definite need for an intersection providing access to northern Londonderry and surrounding industrial land to coincide with completion of the Airport Access Road, which opened in November 2011.

Project officials had hoped the Pettengill Road project would be completed around the same time, but funding has proven to be a

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