Antrim mulls intersection upgrade

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Thursday, May 25, 2017 7:12AM

The Route 202 and 31 intersection in Antrim could be upgraded.

Kevin Belanger, assistant district engineer with the state’s Department of Transportation, told select board members on Monday night that the intersection by the T-Bird Mini Mart is currently rated “F,” the worst ranking.

“I think it’s (the intersection) a challenge right now,” select board member Bob Edwards said. Belanger agreed.

The construction of a proposed Walmart in Hillsborough, located about 6 miles away from the intersection in Antrim, is projected to further exacerbate the problem.

Belanger said they anticipate the shopping center will place an additional 109 additional vehicles on the road per hour during peak weekday times, and an additional 140 vehicles per hour during peak weekend times. He said they anticipate 20 percent of the traffic going to Walmart will make its way through Antrim.

In order to address the issue, Belanger presented two concepts to the board.

He said both attempt to make Route 202, which is the more heavily traveled highway, the through route, and make Route 31 the stop condition. Drivers currently have to stop along Route 202 at the intersection.

“Doing this will help the overall traffic flow of the intersection, as delays on Route 202 would decrease,” Belanger said in an email.

Concept 1 would involve obtaining land from the Antrim Baptist Church and moving a veterans memorial, which are located near the intersection. While the concept may be the better alternative, Belanger said, if the church isn’t agreeable, than the concept could potentially be an expensive alternative.

If chosen, Concept 1 would bump the road to a “C” rating, meaning wait times would be greatly reduced.

Concept 2 would narrow Route 202, and take away a number of parking spaces downtown. It would not involve obtaining any land from the church.

“Neither option presented has been selected, and neither is a perfect solution,” Belanger said.

The town could also choose a do-nothing approach, and wait to see if the construction of Walmart worsens the problem.

He said Walmart will be required to pay about 16.5 percent of the project, because that’s about how much the center would increase traffic to the area.

If the town chooses to do-nothing, Belanger said he would still ask the center to set aside a certain amount of money for 10 years in the event that upgrades need to be made.

Select board members agreed that the town’s police chief should review the concepts and make comment before they proceed.

Abby Kessler can be reached at 924-7172, ext. 234 or akessler@ledgertranscript.com.