NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

October 25, 2012

NH seeks to ease congestion on Seabrook's busy Route 1

SEABROOK — By 2015, one of the busiest portions of Route 1 in Seabrook will get a little wider and a lot safer, thanks to the combined efforts of state and local agencies and a private developer.

Adding another travel lane to about 2,000 feet of Route 1 south is in the planning stages, according to the New Hampshire Department of Transportation. The project is the result of an agreement struck between Ohio shopping center developer DDR and town and state officials.

The compromise settlement allowed DDR to build its 500,000-square-foot retail outlet off the intersection of Routes 1 and 107 and the town to get this section of Route 1 widened, something it has strongly lobbied for.

The agreement also resulted in the larger state project now under way, which is adding two lanes and sidewalks to the Route 107 bridge over Interstate 95, another major coup for Seabrook.

The Route 1 widening plan includes Route 1 south from Perkins Avenue to Autumn Way, or the BP gas station to Dunkin’ Donuts, according to NHDOT officials, who presented the project at a meeting Tuesday night at Seabrook Town Hall. The span of roadway has been problematic as more national retail stores have located to Route 1.

Taking advantage of no sales tax in New Hampshire, companies like Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Lowe’s and Kohl’s, among others, have turned the roughly 3-mile strip of Seabrook’s Route 1 into a shopping mecca, drawing many out-of-state shoppers on a daily basis. The addition of DDR’s shopping center is expected to bring thousands more shoppers to town.

A sizable portion of Route 1 is already five lanes across: two travel lanes in each direction and a turning lane in the center. But the state hasn’t improved this area for about a decade, according to NHDOT’s chief of preliminary design engineer Michael Dugas. At that time, a second northbound lane was added, but due to a lack of money, the state wasn’t able to add a second southbound lane.

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