Topsham selectmen OK bridge trail construction

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TOPSHAM — The Board of Selectmen voted unanimously Sept. 2 to authorize construction of the Bridge to Bridge Trail.

Work on the off-road trail, which will run from across Front Street and down Bridge Street to the Swinging Bridge, is due to begin by early fall, according to Planning Director Rich Roedner. The trail should be in usable condition with a gravel surface by the end of construction season, he said, with paving to follow next spring.

Through a safety program grant, the Maine Department of Transportation is funding 80 percent of the project, anticipated to cost $85,000. The 20 percent local share is about $17,000, which can be cash or in-kind.

Roedner said the use of in-kind services will help the local match to be reached, and that any in-kind costs that exceed the local match amount will be completely reimbursed under the DOT grant. The use of town labor and equipment will serve as the local match to that grant.

Since construction of the trail will be a town project, Topsham’s public works department will serve as general contractor, doing much of the work and subcontracting for tasks its crews cannot accomplish, Roedner said.

Following completion of the final designs for the project, the town received approval from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection for work along the Androscoggin River. Central Maine Power Co. agreed to a license allowing use of the land that has an initial term of 10 years, to be followed by annual renewals.

Alex Lear can be reached at 373-9060 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net.

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A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.