By RICK GREEN, LACONIA DAILY SUN
LACONIA — The city will continue to restrict snowmobiles from traveling on sidewalks, despite a request from snowmobilers to adjust the policy.
The City Council decided on Monday to go along with a staff recommendation not to alter the restriction.
Snowmobilers have been using a sidewalk on the Route 3 (Endicott Street North) bridge to get across the Weirs Channel and access a designated trail along nearby railroad tracks.
They sought city support for leaving the bridge unplowed so they could use it. Consideration was also given to posting the bridge as legal for snowmobile use.
However, pedestrians who use the one sidewalk on the bridge asked for it to be plowed. There are also safety concerns about pedestrians and snowmobiles using the same sidewalk.
Public Works Director Wes Anderson even explored the idea of putting a floating bridge in the channel for snowmobiles.
Then the state weighed in.
In a letter to Belknap Snowmobile Club President Tyson McKenna, Fish and Game Department Conservation Officer Chris Brison expressed concerns with a floating bridge. The department enforces snowmobile laws and rules.
Brison said in the letter that even if the City Council were to designate the Route 3 bridge as a snowmobile crossing, there are no legal snowmobile trails leading to it or to a potential floating bridge.
He was also concerned that snowmobilers who sometimes illegally skim their machines across the surface of the water could hit such a floating bridge and be badly injured.
The City Council was set to vote to continue to restrict snowmobile use of sidewalks in its meeting on Oct. 10, but decided to hold off so that any concerned party could testify at Monday's meeting.
Nobody from the public wanted to speak on the subject Monday, so the council decided to retain the existing policy.
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