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Nature and Engineering
Dec 01, 2021 | by Kathryn Lapierre | Dartmouth Engineer
For their capstone BE Design Sequence, students worked to complete a missing section of the Concord-Lake Sunapee Rail Trail in Warner, New Hampshire.
Students considered cost, feasibility, and mitigation strategies to connect the trail with the natural environment. From left: Savannah Cochran ’23, Camile Pauley ’21, Tim Blagden from the Concord-Lake Sunapee Rail Trail, Lelia Mellen from the National Parks Service, and Chris Drake ’20 Th’21 (not pictured: Keoni Ocalvey ’20 Th’21, Evan Christo ’21, Andres Rosales ’20 Th’21).
The rail trail runs 34 miles across New Hampshire, beginning in Concord and passing through Hopkinton, Warner, Sutton, and Bradford before ending in Newbury at Lake Sunapee.
The group relied on communication with sponsors and outside resources, including surveying community members about their needs. “The project was a testament to how Thayer prepares its engineers for the multidisciplinary nature of many engineering projects in the real world,” says Ocalvey.
Cochran, left, and Pauley record distances and slopes along a steep drop to I-89. The section “crosses under highways, navigating steep topography and traversing floodplains without rail grade,” says Ocalvey. The group worked to make it wheelchair accessible and safely connect users with nature.
“The goal was to establish a challenging connection point along the multi-use biking and walking trail,” says Ocalvey. “It can also serve as a form of alternative transportation for local residents.”
—Kathryn Lapierre is editor of Dartmouth Engineer
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