What is believed to be the first elevated pedestrian bridge ever built over Route 1 in Maine is expected to be installed tonight in Saco.

As a result, a heavily traveled section of Route 1 between Ross Road and Spring Hill Road will close at 6 p.m. to allow crews to erect the footbridge.

The closure is expected to last for 12 hours, and could affect the early morning commute Friday, according to a statement released by the Eastern Trail Alliance.

“This bridge is critical to connecting two portions of the Eastern Trail,” said John Andrews, the Saco resident who serves as president emeritus of the alliance’s board of trustees.

The alliance said drivers should use the Spring Hill Road connection to the industrial park to detour around the construction site.

Andrews said state, local and federal funding is paying for the project. Shaw Brothers Construction of Gorham will install the bridge.

With the bridge completed, the Eastern Trail will extend from the Piscataqua River in Kittery to Bug Light in South Portland.

The Eastern Trail follows the route of the historic Eastern Railroad, the first rail line connecting Boston and Portland.

The Eastern Trail is the southern Maine portion of the yet-to-be-completed 2,900-mile East Coast Greenway, which will stretch from Key West, Fla., to Calais.

Staff Writer Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:

[email protected]