Three possible plans introduced for an eastern gateway into Gate CityBy KIMBERLY HOUGHTON
Union Leader Correspondent
August 15. 2018 10:10PM
NASHUA — Three alternatives are being explored to improve the East Hollis Street and Bridge Street intersection, all of them designed to create a vibrant eastern gateway into the city.
“We know there is a lot of backup now,” Brian Colburn of McFarland-Johnson, Inc., the engineering consultant for the project, said of the traffic flow in the area.
Colburn introduced the three design options to residents on Wednesday, all of them ranging in price from $2.3 million to $2.7 million, plus extra costs for recommended amenities such as a playground, dog park and community garden.
All three options include a five-feet bike lane and five-feet sidewalk, as well as a connection to the riverwalk, green space, benches, a flag pole and flowers.
Alternative one would provide a right lane in and right lane out at Bancroft Street, as well as a right lane in and right lane out with a new future road and signals at Alds Street and Arlington Street.
Alternative two would offer full access to Riverfront Landing at Bancroft Street with the traffic signal at D Street removed. It would also provide full access to the Crown Street area with a new future roadway, and allow emergency vehicles the ability to use new intersections.
Alternative three includes three new traffic lights, and provides an acre of green space adjacent to E Street and 1.3 acres of green space adjacent to the Merrimack River.
“We do think this will operate better than today,” Colburn said of the alternatives.
Several residents were skeptical about the three alternatives, voicing concerns about whether the traffic could potentially spill over into Hudson, or whether the improvements could even create additional traffic if amenities such as a playground or dog park are implemented.
The goal of the project is to ultimately improve mobility, improve access, facilitate land use, and improve aesthetics — without adversely impacting traffic, according to Colburn.
“This is a major entrance point to the city,” he said, stressing the need to make the highly used intersection more defined and cohesive.
Jonathan Law of CRJA-IBI Group, an architectural design firm assisting with the project, said each of the three options have a basic design and an alternative, full buildout design. Federal and state funds are available to pay for the majority of the basic designs.
However, if the recommended alternatives such as a community garden, dog park and playground are considered, those extra costs totaling about $600,000 to $745,000 would need to be funded by the city, said Law.
Although a roundabout was initially considered for the intersection, Colburn said it was determined that a roundabout would not function well in the area.