Public Works Project Begins on South Rockingham Road

After a few glitches of the traffic variety, the extension of town water and sewer south on Rockingham Road (Route 28) is going well, according to Derry Public Works Director Mike Fowler.
The work began Sept. 3 and includes a new bridge and culvert replacement over a stream near Bradford Street.

Fowler said in the first week, the contractor removed all the concrete roadway base. The concrete slabs were a practice popular in the 1930s and ‘40s, Fowler said, but caused trouble for modern motorists and have been pulled.
The contractors have also done some minor tree-clearing. This past week they took out the old culvert near Bradford Street and were prepared to install the water main by the end of that week.
Detours and signage were established the first week, Fowler said. The section of Rockingham Road between Winter Hill and Bradford Street will be closed until December.
Fowler said there were some traffic issues. “In the first week of a project, there are always adjustments to be made,” he said. 
Both South Range Elementary School and Parkland Medical Center, which are affected by the construction, were notified in August, he said, and parents and hospital workers seem to have made adjustments.
The biggest challenge is at the rotary where Route 102, the 28 Bypass, East Derry Road and Route 28 connect, Fowler said. There have been some backups in the morning, when the traffic includes school buses and students driving to Pinkerton Academy, and in the afternoon commute from 4:30 to 6 p.m. 
It’s a “five-legged rotary,” Fowler said, and that presents problems even when there isn’t construction. “It is an ongoing challenge.”
The traffic signal at the junction of routes 102 and 28 has been adjusted to reflect the construction back-ups, he said. The east-west flow going out Route 102 toward Exit 4 is particularly heavy in the morning, as is the west-east flow in the evening as commuters return home. The cycle was 40 seconds and Fowler said another 10 seconds was added in order to allow another couple of cars to pass through on a cycle.
“We did not want to have exorbitant delays,” he said. “If we hadn’t extended the time, there might be stack-ups.”
Fowler did hear from a few concerned residents, but “overall the plan has worked,” he said. His goal has been to keep through traffic out of the neighborhoods affected by the construction.
Weekly updates on the construction are available on the town Web site at www.derry.nh.us.

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