The intersection of Broadway (NH Route 28) with Main Street (NH Route 97), otherwise known as the Depot Intersection, has been plagued by traffic congestion and delays for many years. Additionally, the Depot Intersection has the highest vehicle crash rate of any intersection in Salem. In 1995 the Town and New Hampshire Department of Transportation (NHDOT) partnered to present the Depot Intersection Reconstruction Project to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). The NHDOT and FHWA saw the need for reconstruction and authorized funding for preliminary engineering (PE) to redesign and reconstruct the Depot Intersection. The project would be funded with 80% covered by NHDOT through FHWA and the remaining 20% covered by the Town of Salem, provided the project commenced to construction no later than 10 years from initial award (1995). Shortly thereafter in 1996, the Salem Board of Selectmen (BOS) agreed to provide 20% of the project funding and work with the NHDOT as the Project Manager. The NHDOT presented the Depot Intersection Improvement Plan to the BOS in November 1999 and set the project in motion.
Over the next several years the project continued through PE, Right-of-Way (ROW) Acquisition, and conceptual design phases, but fell behind the original project schedule. In 2008 the NHDOT requested a time extension of eight years. Meanwhile, the Town, through its Planning Board, adopted the Depot Intersection Redevelopment Concept Plan which served as a catalyst to move the project forward. A radius around the Depot Intersection was established to designate an area for enhancement to compliment the roadway improvements. These enhancement include, among other things, additional turn lanes and roadway widening. In March 2012, Salem entered into an agreement with NHDOT to become the Project Sponsor thus taking the lead in managing the project and engineering efforts. The Town procured Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc. (VHB) to bring the project into Final Design (FE). Due to challenges in permitting and ROW Acquisitions, the project fell behind schedule again. FHWA has granted two additional time extensions since 2012. The project is presently on schedule to award the reconstruction contract in September 2020, meeting its current and final deadline from FHWA.
Please see the links on the left of this page for additional information about this project, including the latest schedule.