Trail upgrades under way in Goffstown
A runner takes advantage of Goffstown’s rail trail, which will undergo some upgrades in the months ahead. (Julie Hanson)
GOFFSTOWN – Warm weather has brought out all kinds of activity on the Goffstown rail trail.
In addition to the usual walking, running and cycling activity quite a bit of construction has been going on over the last month or so around the crossings near Lynchville Park, Danis Park, and Shirley Park.
Moose Club Park trailhead is also seeing some development. Last year an Eagle Scout built a new information kiosk on the site. The push is on now to transform the trailhead from open dirt and gravel by adding a paved parking area and formalizing the crosswalk.
“We’re viewing it as kind of a welcome to Goffstown point for people coming in from Manchester,” said Lowell Von Ruden, president of Friends of the Goffstown Rail Trail.
The major part of the project, connecting Moose Club to the Manchester line, was finished a couple of years ago. The Jersey barriers on the west side are being replaced by as part of the crossing walk work. The entire project should be completed sometime in July.
Next year the Friends of the Goffstown Rail Trail hope to start construction on a transportation enhancement project that has been delayed on the state level. A revised plan for the work was approved in late April and final design will begin when a cultural historic review of the entire corridor is completed.
The project includes installation of “Hawk Beacon” signals at the two Mast Road crossings to increase safety.
“These are relatively new systems,” Von Ruden said.
It will actually be the first time those types of beacons are used in New Hampshire.
From the pedestrian perspective the signal works like any other – hit the button and wait for the signal to cross. The light will remain dark until a pedestrian hits the button. Drivers will then see a flashing yellow light that will become a solid yellow followed by a solid red to stop cars. The red light then toggles back and forth allowing cars to go once the pedestrian has cleared the crosswalk.
The crossing at Henry Bridge Road behind the Irving Station will get new “rectangular rapid flash beacon” signals. The beacons include flashing strobe lights to alert drives when pedestrians push the button at the crosswalk.
The final component will be to level the surface by filling in the gully at the old Henry Bridge Road.
The delayed project is being funded by a 2010 Transportation Enhancement grant. The recently completed 2011-2012 construction, which included surface upgrade, grading and drainage, and parking was funded by a 2011 Recreational Trails Program grant.
The Goffstown Rail Trail did not receive a grant from the NH Bureau of Trails in 2013. Although disappointed, Von Ruden said he’s grateful they’ve received one every year since 2007 and will apply again next year. The trail is one-third complete and has 5.5 miles. When the Manchester leg is finished 7.5 miles will be available for recreational use. The spot is already getting more usage as a place for outdoor exercise.
“It’s been picking up noticeably over the past year or two,” Von Ruden said. “It’s nice to see people out there.”
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