For decades, a section of Midcoast Maine rail bed has sat unused.  Now, a group of locals are intent on turning it into a trail usable by bikers, walkers, and hikers.

According to the Portland Press Herald, the proposed Merrymeeting Trail would connect Brunswick to Gardiner where people would be able to use an existing trail to walk or bike all the way to Augusta.

After finding out that the old rail line would not likely be used again before the year 2040, the 14 members of the Rail Corridor Use Advisory Council decided to send an official recommendation to the Maine Department of Transportation, the newspaper reported. They are suggesting that the trail be converted to a biking and walking path.

There are several reasons that this trail would be a great idea.  First, it provides people who are trying to get healthy with a safe place (away from traffic) to bike and walk.  It also provides people who may have an interest in making a long-distance walk or bike ride the chance to do that.

Once completed, you'd be able to take the trail from downtown Augusta all the way to Brunswick.

How much would the conversion cost?  The Maine DOT estimates that converting the rail bed to a multi-use trail would cost just under $35 million, according to the Press Herald.  The newspaper added that it would also cost about $140,000 a year to maintain.

The article explains that the recommendation was sent to the Maine Department of Transportation on August 23.  The government has yet to respond to the suggestion.  There is no word on a timeframe, assuming the project is approved, for when it would be ready to use.

In the past, it has been suggested that, if more old rail beds were added to the existing trail system, it may one day be possible to walk, bike, or hike from Waterville to the Boothbay Harbor area.

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