Foot Traffic Safety Committee
Piscataquag South Branch Footbridge Update
September 10th, 2016
An idea glimpsed over a decade ago as part of New Boston’s future has become cement and steel as the new South Branch Pedestrian Bridge project takes shape on the banks of the Piscataquog River near the Library. The bridge will provide a safe and attractive path for pedestrians and bicyclists traveling between two important locations, the Town Center, including stores, church, town offices, firehouse and school, and the South Village including the Library, Post Offices and businesses. It also will be part of the Rail Trail linking New Boston to Goffstown and Manchester.
The New Boston Foot Traffic Safety Committee (FTSC) Bridge Committee is in charge of all aspects of this project, which grew from ideas discussed at the “New Boston Speaks” community meeting in 2004. The first bridge, supported by Town vote, received a federal grant of $300,000 but ran into fatal location difficulties. New-Boston-owned land was not located on both sides of the river anywhere along the section of the South Branch between the Mont Vernon Road Route 13 Bridge and The Molly Tavern. Repeated attempts to acquire real estate or an easement were unsuccessful; the federal grant program lapsed, and after a decade the project was closed.
In early 2014, a 20-acre parcel of land on the east side of the Piscataquog, opposite Town Library land on the west side was acquired by a group of Four Investors interested in the footbridge project. They subdivided a 3-acre lot along the river from the parcel and donated it to the Town. This lot became part of the Mill Pond Conservation land, making the bridge possible. The lot also opened up access to conservation trails from the river to the cemetery.