Enjoy smooth running on the recently rebuilt University of Maine Bike Path.

On Thursday, Nov. 10, University of Maine officials held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially open the 2.6-mile bike path that connects the UMaine campus with Perkins Street and Stillwater Avenue in Old Town. Constructed in 1976, the bike path takes users through mixed fields and woods and provides a scenic place to exercise away from vehicular traffic.

Tree roots, frost-raised rocks, and cracks started disrupting the path’s paved surface several years ago. The uneven surface necessitated rebuilding the entire path from the intersection of Gannett and Hilltop roads on the UMaine campus to Old Town.

In a project funded by UMaine and the Maine Department of Transportation, a contractor closed the bike path in sections starting on Monday, June 20. Signs directed bicyclists and pedestrians to alternate routes that connected with open sections of the path.

The initial closure was between Gannett Road and the Witter Farm Road. After that section reopened, the contractor closed the bike path from Stillwater Avenue north to the Bunker Road and east to the Witter Farm Road. Besides rebuilding the bike path, the contractor also rebuilt the Stillwater Avenue parking lot. From this lot to Perkins Street in Old Town, the bike path follows the old Veazie Railroad bed. After rebuilding this section, the contractor reconstructed the section between the Bunker Road and Perkins Street in Old Town.

The project entailed improvements to drainage systems and a new asphalt surface on the entire bike path; the contractor also built a new section that runs a half mile from the on-campus Hilltop Parking Lot to the Gannett-Hilltop road intersection.

The even asphalt surface now lets users, particularly bicyclists, enjoy traveling on the bike path without watching out for bumps or dips.

The UMaine Bike Path is open to the public. Off-campus visitors often use the bike path in early morning or before sunset to watch for deer grazing in the adjacent fields.