DOVER – A future public hearing will help state officials determine the future of the shuttered General Sullivan Bridge and how its historic significance might alter plans to replace the current truss superstructure in the creation of a new pedestrian/bicycle path.

The New Hampshire division of the Federal Highway Administration and the N.H. Division of Historical Resources made a joint determination earlier this year that the bridge “is nationally significant … for its design and engineering, as an early and highly-influential example of continuous truss highway design in the United States.”

As such, according to the agencies, any changes to its superstructure, as proposed by the N.H. Department of Transportation to create a new pedestrian/bicycle path over Little Bay, will have what they determine as an “adverse effect” on the bridge.

According to the law, the NHDOT must now use the public hearing process to determine how best to “avoid, minimize, or mitigate adverse effects” on the historic bridge that connects Dover and Newington.