Dover Community Trail expansion nearly complete

After years of planning and effort, construction of Phase III of Dover’s Community Trail is nearly complete, city officials announced.

The upgrade will connect more than four miles of multi-purpose pedestrian pathways from Route 108/Central Avenue at Rutland Street through the Dover Transportation Center and north to Watson Road via the downtown connection on Chestnut and Fourth streets.

City Planner Donna Benton, who serves as the staff liaison for the trail, said the trail improvements will encourage more use and link the middle and high schools to downtown and northern parts of Dover.

“The community has been looking forward to the Community Trail expansion for years and is excited to see its completion,” Benton said. “It is a Dover gem to both residents and visitors alike.”

Phase III is broken into two parts: Creating a trailhead with a paved, graded ramp from Fourth Street by the Cochecho River that connects to the Community Trail’s rural section, and extending the urban area from Fisher Street to Route 108/Central Avenue at Rutland Street. Work began on Sept. 8 and included extensive site and drainage work to both locations.

Construction to the Fourth Street’s entrance is in its final stages, and the ramp is scheduled to be paved starting Monday, Nov. 23. Site and drainage work to Fisher Street expansion is complete except for a small section towards the new trailhead at Central Avenue. The 2,000 feet of completed new trail is also scheduled to be paved Monday. Depending on weather conditions when drainage work to the final part is complete, paving may be postponed until spring. If that occurs, the unpaved trail will have a crushed stone base
and be open for pedestrian use.

The city received a Transportation Alternative Project grant in 2015 from the New Hampshire Department of Transportation to fund Phase III expansion. After creating design engineering plans and obtaining multiple easements for new sections of the trail, the City Council in August awarded the construction bid for the expansion to Rochester’s S.U.R. Construction, Inc. Assistant City Manager Christopher G. Parker and Community Services Environmental Projects Manager Gretchen Young oversee this construction project for the City with the assistance of consultant Fuss & O’Neill.

“The DOT’s grant funding has been critical in the creation and extension of the Community Trail, and we thank them for their continued support,” Parker said. “This trail is recreational and a clear alternative mode of transportation for users, providing access to mass transit options, such as Amtrak’s Downeaster, COAST Bus and Wildcat Transit.”

Studying the feasibility of the planned Phase IV expansion of the Community Trail is currently under way. That project would connect Bellamy Road to Knox Marsh Road/Route 155 and be linked to the Central Avenue trailhead by pathways nearby the middle and high schools and Route 108/Durham Road. Other Community Trail expansion opportunities are also under consideration.

The ad-hoc Dover Community Trail Advisory Committee (CTAC) assists the Planning Department and the City of Dover in creating and maintaining the Community Trail. The CTAC welcomes new members, and Benton encourages anyone interested in participating to contact her at (603) 516-6008, or

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