Dover Community Trail

Woman with a dog on the side of the trail and two bikers on the trail

The Newington Branch Rail Line passes through downtown Dover and presented a unique opportunity to create a new bicycle and pedestrian trail. 

The existing, well-worn trail presented safety and accessibility concerns. Fuss & O’Neill, working with the City of Dover on this NHDOT Transportation Enhancement/ Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (TE/CMAQ) project, created a wide and paved trail to address these issues, one that meets ADA requirements, ensured that brush was cleared well back from trail limits, and added additional improvements that included benches and stormwater treatment.

Dover Trail before image

Dover Trail Before

View of the Dover Trail completed projects with paved trail

Dover Trail After

Multidisciplinary Approach

Fuss & O’Neill’s multidisciplinary team provided survey, conceptual studies, preliminary and final designs, environmental documentation, permitting, and construction administration for several phases of this NHDOT Local Public Agency (LPA) project. Survey services supported engineering design and easement acquisitions. A topographic survey was performed along the trail corridor. Deed research and boundary-related surveys were performed where permanent trail and drainage easements were to be acquired. Recordable easement plans were prepared and subsequently recorded in the Strafford County Registry of Deeds.

Design and construction plans were developed for multiple phases. Phase III of this project included construction of several segments of paved trails, extensive earthwork and grading, stormwater improvements, and installation of site elements (e.g., benches and signs, and landscaping).

Dover Trail rest area with bench

The crossings of Silver Street (NH Route 9) and the Cocheco River presented challenges. The deck of the former bridge at Silver Street had been removed and the gap was filled to create an at-grade roadway. Improvements to an existing abandoned railroad truss bridge over Cocheco River, which was built in 1908, included assessment and retrofits before it could serve as a link in the trail system. An underpass was constructed at Silver Street.

This project involved extensive public outreach that included the formation of a community-based design group and multiple public meetings to garner input from residents. The Community also came together for a Bike to School Day.

Regarding construction, the City of Dover selected Fuss & O’Neill to manage the construction aspect of this project. Coordination with adjacent City construction projects, abutters, and utility companies was essential for the successful completion of this project. Fuss & O’Neill managed the day-to-day issues or concerns from abutters such that they were addressed immediately and acceptably, eliminating the need for the City to become involved.

Up a Dover community trail rotary trail head with a group of the bike riders


The completed trail serves as a connection to the Dover Transportation Center, a hub for local COAST bus service and Amtrak’s Downeaster passenger train between Portland and Boston. It also connected an existing improved trail to a busy City thoroughfare (Central Avenue/Route 108) to provide the final segment of a safe and complete bicycle and pedestrian path into downtown Dover.

Two people walking on the completed it over trail
Bridge over water on the Dover Trail

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