SEVERAL AGENCIES and town officials walk a new trail that officially opened in Topsham Thursday afternoon.

SEVERAL AGENCIES and town officials walk a new trail that officially opened in Topsham Thursday afternoon.

TOPSHAM

A new trail in Topsham officially opened with Thursday afternoon.

The 0.64-mile bicycle and pedestrian trail starts between the Wright-Pierce building and Gibbs Oil Co. gas station on Main Street and runs through woods behind Wright-Pierce and exits at the Route 196 Coastal Connector. It runs parallel to the bypass road and connects to Community Drive.

The trail has been in the works since 2002. Construction on the project finally started last summer and has been in use by the public since the fall. Funded largely through the Maine Department of Transportation, the construction project cost just over $750,000. Shaw Brothers Construction did the work.

The trail was constructed, in part, thanks to an MDOT grant for design work. The cooperation of a number of land owners helped bring the trail to fruition.

Town Manager Rich Roedner thanked the many people involved in the project Thursday.

“We found that roads and railroads aren’t always where you want them to be, you have to work around them. We had to work with delays,” Roedner said, referring to when DOT diverted funds to a bridge project. “As you can see, we persevered.”

A committee was formed to raise $50,000 for the project, to which many local businesses and developers contributed. The project wouldn’t have happened without MDOT, Roedner said.

T.Y. Lin and Stantec stayed with the project even when the funding was long gone.

The trail is part of the East Coast Greenway and this link connects to sidewalks on both ends, which allows users to get to other trails. The plan is to eventually cross the Route 196 Coastal Connector to Highland

Green’s trail systems as well as the Merrymeeting Trail.

No motorized vehicles are allowed on the trail. The town asks users to clean up after their pets, should they be on the trail.

Beware of ticks!

As Topsham celebrates its new trail, Selectwoman Ruth Lyons reminds residents of the danger ticks currently pose now and urged people to protect themselves. And the Maine Department of Health and Human Services reminded people this week to take measures to protect themselves: • WEAR PROTECTIVE CLOTHING. Light clothing makes ticks easier to see and long sleeves and pants reduces exposed skin for ticks to attach. • USE EPA REPELLENT, FOLLOW DIRECTIONS. Clothing and gear can be treated with Permethrin for longer protection. • USE CAUTION IN TICK-INFESTED AREAS. Avoid wooded and brushy areas with high grass and stay in the middle of trails whenever possible. • PERFORM DAILY TICK CHECKS. Check for ticks immediately after exiting high risk areas. Bathe or shower (preferably within 2 hours after being outdoors) to wash off and find ticks on your body. Conduct a full-body tick check. Also examine clothing, gear, and pets.

The University of Maine Cooperative Extension office offers free tick identification.

Go to extension.umaine.edu/ipm/tickid/


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