YARMOUTH – A controversial link in the Beth Condon Memorial Pathway along Route 1 will be completed with $400,000 in federal transportation money, the Town Council decided Thursday night.

The council voted 4-3 to go ahead with plans to build a raised sidewalk beneath the East Main Street overpass and accept funds awarded to the project by the Maine Department of Transportation.

The council decided to spend as much as $100,000 from surplus funds to cover the town’s share of the $500,000 project.

Several councilors wanted to divert the pathway away from Route 1, so it would rise and cross East Main Street and reconnect with the pathway on the other side of the overpass. However, state transportation officials said the money couldn’t be used for an alternative project.

“The Beth Condon Memorial Pathway needs to be completed,” said Councilor Andrew Kittredge, who wrestled with the issue for weeks before casting his deciding vote.

Councilors Randall Bates, Leslie Hyde and Chairman Steve Woods also voted in favor of the project; Erv Bickford, Tim Sanders and Carl Winslow voted against it.

Police Chief Mike Morrill and Fire Chief Pat Fairbanks urged the council to complete the 1,450-foot link in the pathway, though both expressed concerns about the safety of a previous design.

Pedestrians now walk on a narrow, paved shoulder. A plan designed several years ago shows a sidewalk that would be 2 feet higher than the highway.

“I think we’re creating a problem unless it’s designed a lot different than it is now,” Fairbanks said.

Town Manager Nat Tupper assured councilors that town staff members would work with state transportation officials to develop a safer design.

John Kyle, owner of Pat’s Pizza, was one of several people who spoke in favor of the project.

“There’s more and more people walking,” Kyle said. “It’s a very dangerous situation.”

The first section of the pathway was built in 1997, four years after Beth Condon, then a teenager, was killed by a drunken driver as she walked home along Route 1. The planned link would complete a portion of the pathway that was started in 2006.

Staff Writer Kelley Bouchard can be contacted at 791-6328 or at: [email protected]