PORTSMOUTH — State officials on Wednesday approved funding for a $1 million project to create a new connector road, from Lang Road to Longmeadow Road, to the signaled intersection at Ocean Road along Lafayette Road.

The Executive Council approved $869,840 for the project and the city has committed to contribute 10 percent of the total cost, which is $96,648, according to N.H. Department of Transportation records. Funding approved by the state is a pass-through federal grant under a law named "FAST-ACT," or "Fixing America's Surface Transportation System Act."

The city described the project in an October as a new connector road from Lang Road and behind the Service Credit Union building. A traffic island will be constructed to prohibit left turns from Lang Road onto Lafayette Road, while right turns from Lang Road will be permitted. Left turns from Lafayette Road onto Lang will continue to be permitted, the city reported.

Currently, there is a single stop sign and no traffic lights at the intersection where Lang meets Lafayette.

The intersection of Route 1 (Lafayette Road) and Lang Road has been a safety concern for the city of Portsmouth, town of Rye and state for some time, the city stated. "Given that Lang Road is a city road and U.S. Route 1 is a state road, both the city and NHDOT worked together on a road safety audit of the intersection to analyze hazards and potential improvements. The audit identified a preferred option of a connector roadway between Longmeadow Road and Lang Road in order to alleviate the Lang Road intersection safety issues."

Public Works Director Peter Rice said the city is in design discussions and the project is "moving along." He said the area has been the scene of multiple collisions, which is why the state endorsed the project. "We're looking forward to a safe alternative to that intersection," said Rice, who estimated it could begin within a year.

The city is required to submit monthly progress reports and invoices for reimbursement. The project will be administered by the city and plans were approved by the state, including the attorney general's office, Transportation and Construction Unit, state records show.

"The overall purpose of this program is to achieve a significant reduction in traffic fatalities and serious injuries on all public roads through the implementation of infrastructure-related highway safety improvements," NHDOT reported to Gov. Chris Sununu and the Executive Council, in a memo supporting the plan.