Nashua Riverwalk pushes east

Nashua’s Riverwalk is coming online piece by piece, as most trails do. I took a quick break from the job hunt this morning to check out the new stretch, extending from the library to the RR bridge behind BAE Systems. The bridge is a prize, providing one of the city’s few safe pedestrian crossings of the Nashua River.

The RR bridge still has an active line, and it has long been a probably-illegal and certainly dangerous river crossing for intrepid pedestrians. A walkway and the rail line now share the bridge, with a fence and a railing defining the walkway. Not exactly a bridge to nowhere, its full value won’t be realized until the Riverwalk is complete along both sides of the river near Main Street. My guess is that most of the current users are the lunchtime runners from BAE.

For now, a stairway behind the library leads to a flat path along the south side of the river. The view at the dam, unremarkable now, will probably be quite a draw for Riverwalk visitors in the spring. Spring floods will undoubtedly leave part of this path underwater for days at a time. Five minutes of walking brought me to the bridge.

Crossing the river put me into the parking lot between BAE & Margarita’s – not exactly a scenic wonder. I hoped there might be a trail open along the north side of the river, but no such luck. Returning to the library meant either retracing steps or going ahead via the rail line, Main Street, & Pearson Avenue.

For safety, I’d rate this a daytime-only path for solo walkers for now. I’d love to see this get as much traffic as the paths in Mine Falls Park, and with the eventual completion of the Riverwalk, that may yet happen.

Published accounts of the condition of the Nashua River from 40 years ago make me appreciate all the work that has gone into this project. Bridges are particularly expensive to adapt for pedestrian use. My thanks to the McLean Contributionship, which made a $100,000 grant to get this trail link going.