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Recreational bridge will link Manchester and Goffstown

GOFFSTOWN - The construction of a new bridge that will link Goffstown to Manchester via railroad trails has been approved and is expected to be completed this year.

The current trestle bridge will be replaced by a steel truss bridge sometime this year, according to a press release issued by Manchester MOVES, a non-profit organization dedicated to the conversion of the former rail beds to usable recreational trails.

The bridge will span the Piscataquog River to connect the rail trail systems of Manchester and Goffstown, and will enable bikers and walkers to get to such Manchester attractions as Northeast Delta Dental Stadium, the West Side Ice Arena, the Merrimack River and other trails in the system.

"We're thrilled that there is soon to be a finished connection to Manchester," said David Pierce, chairman of the Goffstown Rails to Trails Committee.

Improvements to the trail system have been made over the past several years as the Goffstown portion of the trail inches toward the Manchester line, with the construction of a trail head and four parking spaces at the Moose Club Park crossing, Pierce said.

Parking is also available at Sarette Park, Pierce said, and the public can ride bikes into Manchester using the trails.

"About three years ago, we started to emphasize making that connection to the Manchester line," Pierce said, adding that the project is funded by grants and small donations. Pierce said that every yard of trail built costs about $50.

In order to defray some of the additional costs presented by the bridge replacement, the City of Manchester has proposed to construct the trail portion of the project with its own labor and equipment, and additional funding has been approved through the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality program.

Manchester MOVES raised the funds required for the project's 20 percent grant match through donations from Northeast Delta Dental, the Samuel P. Hunt Foundation, the Bean Foundation, St. Mary's Bank, the Arthur Getz Foundation, the Mary Louise Billings Trust, VHB, Inc., Manchester YMCA, WEDU, Blue Steel Cyclery, Couptopia, Martignetti Companies of NH and other grass roots donations.

For those who support the Rails to Trails program, the first town connection is a significant step forward.

"We're all really excited about this," said Brian Thomas, Manchester MOVES board member, "and can't wait for the day that Goffstown and other communities will be able to walk, bike or run across the river into downtown Manchester."

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