By Shelby Carignan, Staff Writer. Friday, May 30, 2014. The Forecaster.

SCARBOROUGH — Officials confirmed that the town has received enough funding to begin closing the gap in the Eastern Trail between South Portland and Scarborough.

Though the $376,000 from the Portland Area Comprehensive Transportation System will not complete the 1.5-mile section from the Nonesuch River in Scarborough to Wainwright Athletic Complex in South Portland, it green-lights construction on a smaller segment just under a mile long from Wainwright to Pleasant Hill Road. 

Construction will likely begin late this year or early in 2015.

Nearly a third of the pedestrian and bike trail, which extends 65 miles from Bug Light Park in South Portland to Kittery, is completely off-road, according to Robert Hamblen, president of the Eastern Trail Alliance. The ultimate goal is to connect the entire trail via pedestrian pathways. 

The segment from Arundel to South Portland is 85 percent off-road, with the two most prominent interruptions remaining between Saco and Biddeford, and Scarborough and South Portland. The Maine Department of Transportation has studied plans to close those gaps, and determined that both require bridges.

“Both of them are expensive, but we firmly believe both will happen,” Hamblen said. “They’ve just both been laying there waiting for funding to make it possible.”

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