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Deadline looms for trail extension

By Michael Kelley Staff Writer, Scarborough Leader - published 12/9/16

The race is on to raise the remaining funds to extend the Eastern Trail and form a connection between Scarborough and South Portland.

While the gap is only 1.6 miles – from Defosses Avenue in Scarborough to Wainwright Recreation Complex in South Portland – making the connection has proven difficult, and costly, due to the need to cross over the Nonesuch River and Amtrak/ Pan American rail line. The gap is the only piece missing of an off-road trail between South Portland and Saco.

“It’s a small piece of mileage, but really a critical piece,” said Carole Brush, executive director of the Eastern Trail Alliance, the volunteer based organization that was formed in 1997 to develop the Eastern Trail.

The Eastern Trail, which covers 65 miles from Kittery to South Portland, is the northern section of the East Coast Greenway, a trail system spanning 2,900 miles between Calais, Maine and Key West, Florida.

Approximately $600,000 of the $3.8 million cost is still outstanding. Town Planner Dan Bacon said half the cost of the project – $1.6 to $2 million – is due to the need to construct a bridge and the associated approaches over the Pan-American railway, which is used several times a day by the Amtrak Downeaster and freight trains. The bridge over the Nonesuch River, by comparison, is much easier and cheaper. Because the bridge abutments are still in place from where the old Eastern Railroad crossed the river, and only a bridge is needed the cost is expected to be between $100,000 and $140,000.

You can read the entire article online here.

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