By: Michael Kitch, NH Business Review
A proposal by a private consortium to acquire the 89-mile turnpike system in New Hampshire has been shelved, but the Public-Private Partnership Oversight Commission last month agreed to consider plans for a full-service rest area at Exit 23 in New Hampton, similar to the ones on Interstate 93 in Hooksett.
The commission expressed interest in the proposal by Alex Ray of the Common Man family of restaurants and Rusty McLear of Hampshire Hospitality Holdings, the team that transformed the rest areas in Hooksett, to undertake a similar project further north at Exit 23, where the highway intersects with Route 104 leading west to Bristol and east to Meredith.
Ray told the commission that what the partners call “New Hampton Commons” could either replace or complement the existing rest areas in Canterbury and Sanbornton, both of which operate limited hours and offer sparse amenities.
He said that some years ago he purchased 5.5 acres at the interchange of I-93 and NH 104 abutting both a Department of Transportation facility, which includes a park-and-ride lot, and an Irving gas station.
Ray told the commission that the rest area would be built, managed and operated by a private entity without state, federal or municipal funds.
The rest area would include fast food and restrooms as well as a walking area for pets and other related amenities. A cooperative agreement with Irving Oil Company, he explained, would link the rest area to the fueling station next door.
The facility would be built with a rustic motif and feature a colonial structure built in the 1800s and still standing on the site. Once approved, the project could be completed in approximately 18 moths at a total cost of $2 million to $3 million he said.
Turnpike privatization proposal
The Legislature established the commission — known as the P3 Commission — to pursue the notion that “public-private partnerships allow for the sharing of resources to finance, design, build, operate and maintain transportation infrastructure projects and are especially effective when limited financial resources are available.”
Read this article on nhbr.com.