Local cycling advocates and town leaders have endorsed an ambitious plan to connect Brunswick, West Bath and Bath with a safe, accessible bike path, reviving a vision that dates back more two decades.

In recent weeks, all three towns’ elected boards have voted to declare their support for the Androscoggin to Kennebec (A2K) trail, a 7.2-mile-long, paved path that will run from the east end of Brunswick’s popular Androscoggin River Bike Path along the Route 1 corridor through West Bath to Congress Avenue in Bath.

Town officials and representatives from other local groups, including the Kennebec Estuary Land Trust, plan to work with the Maine Department of Transportation to evaluate the project’s feasibility, develop a plan and secure funding.

“We’re hearing loud and clear from community members that having alternate modes of transportation and getting from places like Bath to Brunswick is extremely important,” said Tim Blair, chairperson of the Bath Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee. “This project is in total alignment with what’s been laid out as the reasons for active transportation.”

The communities have been interested in the A2K project since Brunswick completed its bike path in 1998, but limited federal funding options prevented the vision from materializing, according to Brunswick Parks & Recreation Director Tom Farrell.

That’s changed thanks to President Joe Biden’s $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, which includes funding for several grant programs related to biking and walking. Securing some of those federal dollars will be a vital step in completing the A2K project, which a 2004 feasibility study estimated would cost nearly $11 million.


“We don’t know what that’s going to be, but we know it’s going to be significantly more than it was in 2004,” Farrell said. “We’re talking very large dollars.”

Recent years have seen the Maine Department of Transportation increase its focus on “active transportation,” which includes walking, biking and other human-powered modes of transport. A draft of the department’s first ever Active Transportation Plan, which the DOT is set to finalize this year, lists a bevy of benefits of building bike-ped infrastructure, including increasing tourism and economic activity, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and expanding exercise and recreation opportunities.

The A2K trail is similar to several other projects Maine communities and the DOT are jointly pursuing as biking grows in popularity among the public, said Dakota Hewlett, the department’s active transportation planner.

“We definitely are seeing a lot of lot of interest in other bike paths and even sidewalk development in Maine,” he said. “Folks have really taken a step back and wanted to prioritize quality of life in their communities.”

Midcoast town leaders highlighted different ways the project could improve life in the region. West Bath town administrator Kristine Poland said the trail could offer recreation opportunities to a town lacking green space, while Brunswick Economic & Community Development Director Sally Costello pointed to the potential benefit to the region’s workforce and business community, especially in the Cook’s Corner area.

“There’s a lot of data that shows when you have walkable, landscaped areas, that just brings investment,” she said. “We want Brunswick to be one of the best biking towns in Maine.”

Readers interested in learning more about the project can visit the Bath Bicycle & Pedestrian Committee’s website at bikewalkbath.org.

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