New Hampshire’s highway network.
New Hampshire has a fairly extensive road network, especially in the tourist center and south. The remote north has a very sparse road network with only a few through roads. New Hampshire’s highway network is relatively extensive for population size, especially in the more densely populated southeast of the state.
The state highway authority is the New Hampshire Department of Transportation, abbreviated NHDOT. The state manages 7,401 kilometers of state highway, divided into 4 classes (tier 1 to tier 4). NHDOT manages 2,086 bridges.
NHDOT has its origins in the Division to the Highway Department which was established in 1915. In 1950 this became the New Hampshire Department of Public Works and Highways and in 1986 the current Department of Transportation was created.
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Several Interstate Highways run through New Hampshire. Interstate 89 forms a diagonal route from Concord to the Vermont border near Lebanon. Interstate 93 is the state ‘s main north-south route, from the Massachusetts border through Manchester and Concord north to the Vermont border at Littleton. I-93 runs through Franconia Notch, where the highway is a super two for some time, one of the very few places where an Interstate Highway doesn’t have 2×2 lanes. Interstate 95 runs along the coast from Seabrook to Portsmouth and is largely a toll road.
In addition, there are two auxiliary routes, Interstate 293 forms the bypass from Manchester and Interstate 393 is a spur at Concord.
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There are also a small number of US Highways that run through New Hampshire. US 1 runs along the coast and US 2 runs through the sparsely populated north of the state. US 3 forms a north-south route through the center of the state, with part of which I-93 parallels. US 3 is also New Hampshire’s northernmost highway. US 4 forms an east-west route through the center of the state, including the route from Concord to Portsmouth. The US 202 will partly benefit from this. US 302 runs east-west through the north of the state, via Littleton through the White Mountains.
A network of state routes complements the secondary road network. The network is dense in the south, fairly dense in the center, but thin in the north. The numbering runs from 4 to 286, in addition there are a number of auxiliary routes, which have the suffix ‘A’. State Route 16 is New Hampshire’s longest state route at 150 miles.
The road number plate has the outline of the Old Man of the Mountain, a face-shaped rock formation near Franconia. This rock formation has always been the symbol of New Hampshire, but the rock formation collapsed in 2003.
Some state routes are run as freeway;
- SR-10: Keene bypass
- SR-11: Laconia bypass
- SR-16: Portsmouth – Union
- SR-101: Manchester – Hampton
There are three toll roads in New Hampshire;
- Everett Turnpike (part I-93)
- Blue Star Turnpike / New Hampshire Turnpike (I-95)
- Spaulding Turnpike (SR-16)
The Bureau of Turnpikes is responsible for toll roads in New Hampshire.
I-93 at Manchester.
Like many states in the northeastern United States, highway construction began with turnpikes in the 1940s. The first to open was the New Hampshire Turnpike along the coast, which opened in 1950. This would later become I-95. Construction then began on the Everett Turnpike from the Massachusetts border to the capital Concord, which would also serve the larger cities of Nashua and Manchester. In 1955 the southern part opened to Manchester and in 1957 the northern part to Concord. I-93 would later be routed over the northern part. In 1956 the first phase of the Spaulding Turnpike opened in the east of the state, between Portsmouth and Dover. In 1957 this was extended to Rochester.
During the 1960s, I-93 was built in southern New Hampshire, and was largely completed by 1961, except for a missing link in northeastern New Hampshire, which opened in 1977. In 1961, the southern portion of I-293 along Manchester also opened. Little is known about the construction of I-89 and I-93 in the center and north of the state. It is believed that these opened during the 1970s, possibly extending into the early 1980s.
There were some missing links that were built quite late. In 1972, the I-95 link on the Maine border opened to traffic. I-393 opened in 1979 and the extension of the Spaulding Turnpike north of Rochester in 1981. Also notable is the lengthy separation from State Route 101, New Hampshire’s only east-west highway. It was not fully completed until 2000. In the 1970s, the Maine Turnpike was widened to 2×4 lanes. In 1978 the first section of the Everett Turnpike was widened to 2×3 lanes, followed in the 1980s by the section between Nashua and Manchester. Between 1997 and 2002, the southernmost portion of the Everett Turnpike was widened to 2×3 lanes.