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A bridge too far: $32 million for pedestrians and bikes

December 13. 2017 12:10AM

If the General Sullivan Bridge connecting Newington and Dover didn’t exist, would New Hampshire transportation officials propose spending $32 million to build a new bridge for pedestrians and bicyclists?

We very much doubt it.

During a presentation in Portsmouth touting a proposed toll hike, DOT officials cited the Sullivan Bridge project, which would refurbish the bridge for the approximately 500 walkers and bikers who cross the span each week. The project is already in the DOT budget, and is scheduled whether or not tolls increase.

The DOT got a little overzealous trying to sell Seacoast residents on the goodies they’d receive if the Executive Council went through with a plan to hike tolls up to 50 percent.

The Sullivan Bridge has long outlived its usefulness. Supporters of sprucing up the Sullivan are confusing old with historic. The bridge hasn’t carried vehicle traffic in three decades. It is an eyesore, and the U.S. Coast Guard considers it an obstruction to navigation.

Tearing the bridge down and replacing it with a similar structure would cost even more. But why must the aging bridge be replaced with something similar to cater to a handful of people?

If the Executive Council believes that a lightly-travelled footbridge is such a high priority for New Hampshire’s transportation infrastructure, the state should find a more cost-effective way to achieve that goal.

Transportation State Government Editorial

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