DERRY — The cost of Derry’s portion of the approximately $52 million Exit 4A project would be capped at $5 million, officials said during a state Department of Transportation presentation at the Town Council’s meeting Tuesday.
But some town councilors questioned whether the town even owed the $5 million because of lost paperwork.
During the meeting, the NH DOT presented an update on the Interstate 93 widening project and answered councilors’ questions about the controversial Exit 4A project.
The 4A project stands at about $52 million, and the state has identified approximately $19 million in funding it would pay, according to state DOT officials.
Town councilors last month expressed concerns that because of delays the cost of the project could soar to more than $100 million, leaving Derry responsible for a portion of the excess.
But Derry’s cost for the project is capped at $5 million because of a prior lawsuit that also involved Londonderry, said state Sen. Jim Raush and Londonderry Councilor John Farrell, who was also in attendance.
Farrell said that the paperwork for the lawsuit was lost in about 2007. This prompted some Derry councilors to question if Derry was even liable for the $5 million.
Councilor Thomas Cardon, who has followed the Exit 4A project for years, said the loss of the documents doesn’t mean Derry doesn’t owe the $5 million but questioned if there was anything on paper showing the town was obligated.
Cardon pointed to a 1991 settlement agreement that showed Londonderry was obligated to pay $5 million .
“There’s not one signature from anybody in Derry that has signed this document,” Cardon said.
Cardon said he has been looking for four years for the original contract that included Derry, but he hasn’t found it yet.
“My suspicion is that some people were smart enough to get rid of it or to hide it or to bury it,” Cardon said.
The reason the contract could have been hidden is because of a possible deadline date that would make the document null and void.
Cardon said he was afraid that if the town went forward with the 4A project without seeing something in writing showing Derry was obligated to pay $5 million, it could be facing a much larger bill of up to $15 million.
Councilor Al Dimmock also agreed that the town should have signed documentation showing it is obligated to pay the $5 million.