SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine —
The Eastern Trail Alliance announced it has worked out an easement agreement with a landowner for its “Close the Gap” project.
“Close the Gap” is a trail development plan to build a new section of trail that will connect the Eastern Trail in Scarborough to South Portland. The closing of this trail “gap” will create an entirely off-road trail from Bug Light Park in South Portland to Thornton Academy in Saco.
“It will open up a little over a mile and a half of incredibly beautiful area that people haven’t really had a chance to see because there hasn’t been a connecting trail. And maybe even most importantly, it’ll take the current trail off road in busy traffic and less than ideal conditions,” Jon Kachmar, the executive director of the Eastern Trail, said.
Kachmar said there has been a lot of energy to get the trail built after raising more than $6 million in private and public funds.
“There’s been many people involved before me and there’s been lots of people working on this from the town of Scarborough, from [the] Maine Department of Transportation, from the Eastern Trail. It’s been a real group effort and a long time coming but we’re hugely excited to be able to open up this trail to hundreds of thousands of people who’ll eventually come through it,” Kachmar said.
A construction bidding for the connector trail will be put out by the end of January and once that’s complete a contractor will be chosen to develop the trail. Along with the creation of the trail, two bridges will be built to allow access over the Nonesuch River and railroad tracks.
Once construction begins, the Eastern Trail Alliance predicts the project will take 18 to 24 months to complete.