Belmont buying covered pedestrian bridge from Dover for $1

BELMONT — A 154-foot long covered pedestrian bridge which once spanned the Cocheco River in Dover is being taken apart and will be brought to this town in three sections, where parts of it will eventually span the Tioga River in two different locations.
The eight-foot wide wooden bridge was sold to the Belmont Conservation Commission for $1 by the Dover City Council last month after efforts by Dover residents to keep in that community and use it as a centerpiece for a park fell short.
Built in 1996 at a cost of $162,845, the bridge was removed with a crane in 2010 and is currently dry-docked, in the way of a waterfront development.
Selectman John Pike said the town's Conservation Commission and Heritage Commission have developed plans for the use of the bridge, whose parts will be stored over the winter in the Public Works garage with an eye toward reconstructing it over the Tioga River next year.
The Conservation Commission discussed the project at its August 7 meeting at which Chairman Ken Knowlton reported that contractor Mark Roberts has checked the bridge and said that it would have to be moved in three sections, including disassembly and actually cutting off the roof which was added after the bridge sections were assembled.
He said that Roberts has also developed a scope of work to move everything to Belmont with a price of $12,600 for moving and about $10,000 for using two cranes to place two sections of the bridge over the river, just upstream from the Belmont Mill, providing the engineers determine that the bridge sections can be used separately.
Another section of the bridge would go in below the mill, where a pedestrian bridge which would have been built with volunteer labor as part of the downtown project was envisaged.
Knowlton said that he and Woody Fogg had taken measurements after brush along the river had been removed earlier this year and were confident that two sections of the bridge would be able to put into place by cranes.
The commission is currently looking for ways to raise funds for the cost of putting the bridges in place, as well as for a trail system which will be built along the right of way of the former Belmont Spur rail corridor, which used to bring trains in from Tilton to the Belmont Village area.