Bike trail to open between Portland and East Hampton

Bike trail is slated to open between Portland and East Hampton. (WFSB)

Abandoned and forgotten rail lines are getting a new lease on life providing transportation for bicyclists.

There are currently miles of reclaimed rail lines that are active year-round bike paths.

This year a whole new section will open between Portland and East Hampton.

Channel Three's Kevin Hogan has more details on the "Air Line Trail".

This is the future start of the bike path along the Air Line Trail in Portland. It's overgrown and rough right now...but it's on Route 66 where Al Spaulding's been hawking hot dogs for 35 years.

Starting in the fall, bicyclists will be able to cruise to East Hampton and beyond.

"On the Portland side now need for extra bridges or things like that. We do have some fairly steep inclines that we have to work on," said Louis Pear, co-chair of the Portland Air Line Trail.

Louis said engineers are working on resolving any problems along the route before path clearing begins this summer. 2.5 miles alone are now a granted right of way from Eversource.

One of the most interesting features about the Portland section of the Air Line Trail is this Brownstone Bridge right on Middle-Haddam Road. It's been here a long time.

The New York, New Haven and Hartford railroad built the line from Middletown to Boston.

The new pedal traffic is expected to draw hundreds every weekend to the region.

"I've heard of the air line trail before and I know they're planning on coming into Portland up here," said Spaulding.

Spencer Gates, who works with Pedal Power Bike Shop, agrees that not only is it good for business, but also safety.

"It gives people the opportunity to ride their bike on a fairly smooth surface and not have to interfere with a lot of cars," Gates said.

More information on the trail is available here.

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