Members of the Androscoggin Riverwalk Advisory Committee, Joshua Katz (from left), Don Gower and Nancy Randolph talk about the Androscoggin Brunswick-Topsham Riverwalk while standing on part of the trail in Topsham with Scott Wilkinson, second from right, a regional representative with U.S. Sen. Angus King’s office. Darcie Moore / The Times Record

BRUNSWICK — The committee in charge of completing a loop trail along the Androscoggin River through Brunswick and Topsham has set its sights set on the next phase of the project.

When finished, the 1.25-mile Androscoggin Brunswick-Topsham Riverwalk will encompass the historic Androscoggin swinging bridge between Mill Street in Brunswick and Bridge Street in Topsham. It also will cross the new bridge over the Androscoggin River between Brunswick and Topsham that will replace the Frank J. Wood Bridge. In Topsham, 0.35 miles of trail from Bridge to Summer streets was completed in 2012.

Future phases include improvements in Brunswick along Mill Street and the Fort Andross area. Wednesday, the Riverwalk Advisory Committee voted unanimously to prioritize finishing the 866-foot trail between the swinging bridge and Bow Street along Mill Street in Brunswick.

Nancy Randolph, co-chair of the Riverwalk Advisory Committee, said the committee decided to focus on the shorter section of the trail because the work won’t be held up by the Maine Department of Transportation’s plans to replace the Frank J. Wood Bridge and rebuild the Maine Street deck over Route 1.

The Frank J. Wood Bridge replacement project was originally slated to start in 2019 but was delayed by a lengthy review process and a lawsuit filed against the Maine Department of Transportation in 2019, which is still pending. The new bridge project is expected to go out to bid early next year and will have pedestrian crossings on both sides to increase access for all people, Randolph said.

By doing the shorter 866-foot stretch of trail along Mill Street next instead of the entire section from Bridge Street to Main Street in Topsham, Randolph said the committee believes it has a better chance of winning grants to fund that phase of the project. She doesn’t yet know what the cost will be but said she hopes that it can be completed within three years.

Randolph said right now, 15,000 people can access the trail by walking just 15 minutes from their home, which means it has the potential to impact a lot of people.

Randolph recently reached out to U.S. Sen. Angus King, a supporter of the new Great American Outdoors Act with funding for land and water conservation, a hopeful source of funding for the project. Scott Wilkinson, a regional representative with King’s office, walked along the trail with Randolph and other committee members early last week.

An artist’s rendering of the future Androscoggin Brunswick-Topsham Riverwalk is shown along Mill Street in Brunswick. Courtesy of Nancy Randolph

 

 

 

 

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