LACONIA — The most heavily traveled roadways in Belknap County are the Rte. 3 /Rte 11 east-west corridor from Tilton to Laconia and the Rte. 3/Rte. 25 corridor between Meredith and Center Harbor according to traffic counts undertaken by the Lakes Region Planning Commission (LRPC) and New Hampshire Department of Transportation (DOT).
Dan Callister of the LRPC said that each year the commission conducts traffic counts on a three-cycle within the 30 municipalities in four counties — Belknap, Carroll, Grafton and Merrimack — it serves. Each summer counts are taken at about a third of some 500 different locations. At the same time, the DOT takes traffic counts at between 12 and 20 locations 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year. DOT melds the two sets of counts, adjusts for seasonal variations and reports the results as "annual average daily traffic" (AADT) in the agency's Annual Traffic Report.
In 2013, The DOT reported the AADT at three locations along 3/11 in Tilton ranged from 15,000 on West Main Street near its intersection with Park Street at the center of town to 18,000 at Brook Road in Lochmere. and 17,000 at the Sanbornton town line, near the Mosquito Bridge. A traffic study by the LRPC in 2012 found that traffic volumes in the corridor were higher to the west than to the east of Exit 20 on I-93 and were much greater in summer than in winter. The LRPC counted 6,041 vehicles on January 12, 2011 but 23,215 vehicles on July 1, 2011 and 33,252 vehicles on a Friday in August 2012.
The traffic volume on 3/11 is reflected in Laconia, where the AADT on Court Street is 15,000, matching the traffic volume of between 13,000 and 15,000 vehicles on Union Avenue.
The 3/25 corridor through Meredith to Center Harbor has been studied closely during the past decade as a committee of local stakeholders and DOT considered options for easing congestion on summer weekends. In January, residents soundly rejected the committee's recommendation to build three roundabouts between Lake Street and Pleasant Street .
The most recent traffic counts in 2012 and 2013 measured the AADT on Rte. 3 south of the intersection with Rte. 25 at 11,000, the AADT on Rte. 25 between the intersection with Rte. 3 and Pleasant Street at 15,000 and the AADT on 25 at the Center Harbor town line at 12,000. Traffic volume through the corridor is significantly greater in the summer months, especially on weekends.
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