Milford wants another pedestrian bridge; applies for grant

MILFORD – The town will apply for a federal grant for a bridge over the Souhegan River that would connect the sports fields on North River Road with Keyes Park.

The money would come from the federally funded Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP), through the New Hampshire Department of Transportation, which announced this summer a new $3.2 million competitive selection round for walking and bicycling infrastructure projects.

The pedestrian bridge project, estimated at $650,000, would require a 20 percent match from the town. The exact location hasn’t been determined, but the bridge’s purpose would be to connect the MCAA fields with the Brookstone Apartments and Keyes Park.

At the selectmen’s Aug. 20 meeting, Milford community development director Lincoln Daley offered the board three possibilities for TAP funding, including sidewalks on Osgood Road, between the high school and middle school and Leisure Acres.

The third option would be sidewalks for Nashua Street, between Medlyn Monument and Walgreens Pharmacy – the last remaining section of Nashua Street without sidewalks between Walgreens and downtown.

“We see more and more people using bikes on Nashua Street, and it’s pretty dangerous,” Daley said.

When asked to name his priorities, however, Daley agreed with the board’s consensus on the pedestrian bridge.

“The bridge ties into several ongoing or future projects” as well as the river trails and a planned dog park, Daley said. It would also connect the new Hutchinson Point community, at the corner of Route 13 and North River Road, to the Keyes recreation area.

The third alternative was sidewalks for Osgood Road-Melendy Road to Leisure Acres, Daley said, a road that is heavily traveled by middle school and high school students.

Selectman Gary Daniels said the river bridge would give the town the most for its money and would expand parking opportunities

The bridge wasn’t everyone’s first choice. Selectman Laura Dudziak said the many students who walk on Osgood Road make the lack of sidewalks a “huge safety concern.”

Paul Dargie said he preferred the Nashua Street sidewalks, because the speed of cars in that area make it dangerous to walk or bike ride.

The purpose of the Transportation Alternatives Program is to foster safe, non-motorized transportation infrastructure, with a minimum of $400,000 and maximum of $1 million.

The pedestrian bridge would be the town’s third pedestrian span over the river. The Swing Bridge, built in 1889, connects downtown with the Souhegan Street and eastern area of town. The Gregg Crossing Bridge connects the Boys and Girls Club of Souhegan Valley on Mont Vernon Street, to Keyes Park on Elm Street.

The board will write a letter of support for the application.

Kathy Cleveland can be reached at 673-3100 or kcleveland@cabinet.com.

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