The future of a train layover station serving the Haverhill commuter rail line may be found across the state line.
The arrangement, if ultimately approved, would give Plaistow MBTA commuter rail service, while solving a long-time Haverhill problem involving noisy, foul-smelling idling trains.
The Plaistow, N.H., Commuter Rail Extension Study group has released new documents, which recommend placing a combined passenger station and layover facility in the Westville section, off route 125.
The recommendation, known as Alternative 2, would use Joanne Drive as an access road to the facilities and commuter parking. According to documents, the site offers the best regional access and an existing signalized Route 125 intersection is not expected to create traffic impacts. Also, the proposed site would have the fewest number of noise impacts as it has the fewest number of residential properties within a half-mile, private and town-owned parcels are available for future development and a potential wetland mitigation could be addressed through site design or bridging above Little River.
The choice follows a series of public meetings, including one most recently held Feb. 24. Since last September, the study group has considered three alternative site plans, including one that proposed a layover station on the Haverhill side of the state line, parallel to the upper Hilldale Avenue industrial park, and a separate commuter rail station at the Westville Road side of the rail line. A third alternative would place a combined facility off the Main Street railroad crossing near the town center.
Projected total capital cost to construct the Alternative 2 facility is $50.5 million, the highest among the three site proposals. “Capital Costs are anticipated to be paid from a Federal grant & Massachusetts matching funds; no capital or operating costs anticipated to be paid by either New Hampshire or the Town of Plaistow,” according to a statement.
The next steps in the commuter rail extension study include “a determination by the Plaistow Board of Selectmen.. as to whether any of the alternatives should be considered further. If, in the BOS’s opinion, the project has potential benefits for the community, it will be brought to citizens for a vote after completion of the Environmental Assessment anticipated to be completed in May 2015,” according to analysis documents.