CAPE ELIZABETH — The Shore Road Pathway could soon become more reality than vision.
Town Manager Michael McGovern said he anticipates sending the project out to bid on April 5.
McGovern on Monday announced the planned 2.2-mile pedestrian and bicycling path from Route 77 to Fort Williams Park received a Federal Highway Administration “categorical exclusion.”
The designation means the planned pathway does not need an environmental assessment or environmental impact statement before construction can start.
Federal project review was required because a $729,000 Maine Department of Transportation grant funding most of the path construction is money passed on from the FHA.
McGovern said he anticipates bids will be opened on April 26, a contract signed with the winning bidder by May 1, and construction will begin around May 14.
“We have a couple of minor technical issues that we anticipate resolving in the next week. MDOT is now completing their review of the draft specifications,” he said.
The 5-foot-wide pathway, built along the west side of Shore Road, has been under consideration for at least five years. Councilors approved the project, and initial funding of $110,000 in town money for engineering studies, by a 6-1 vote on Sept. 14, 2009.
Construction costs were initially estimated at $833,000. Last year, the town received the MDOT grant and the project has received about $100,000 in private contributions.
McGovern said the planning and permitting are complete, and about $830,000 is in hand for building the asphalt path. The plan calls for removing 26 trees along the route and making some modifications to the park entrance. Along most of its course, the path will be set about 3 feet to 5 feet off the road.
McGovern had hoped the project would be underway by now, and said the path will not be done by Aug. 4, when the annual TD Bank Beach to Beacon 10k road race takes place.
Construction on the path will be halted Aug. 2-3 because of additional Shore Road traffic and race preparations, McGovern said.
McGovern also cautioned there might still be some delays due to additonal federal review.