PORTSMOUTH, N.H. (AP) — Planning is underway but completion is still viewed as a decade away for a coastal bike and walking path that would run from southern Maine to northern Massachusetts.
The Portsmouth Herald reports that negotiations with Pan Am Railways for sale of the company’s defunct Hampton, New Hampshire, branch corridor are stalling the project.
The New Hampshire Seacoast Greenway would run 17.2 miles from Kittery, Maine, to Salisbury, Massachusetts. Once completed, it will become one link in the proposed, 2,900-mile walkway and bike path running from Calais, Maine, to the Florida Keys.
Scott Bogle, Rockingham Planning Commission’s senior transportation planner, says Pan Am and the New Hampshire Department of Transportation disagree over the value of the Hampton branch, which runs from Hampton’s center to Portsmouth.
Bogle said the state has about $4.5 million set aside for the Hampton purchase, but Pan Am maintains the branch is worth more.
“I think that the state’s negotiations with Pan Am have taken longer than I think the state expected,” Bogle told the newspaper.
Cynthia Scarano, executive vice president of Pan Am Railways, said Friday that the company hopes to see something resolved in a couple weeks.
Bogle said a bigger hurdle than the Pan Am negotiations could be the prospect of bringing the greenway through the Hampton marshes. But Hampton Conservation Commission Chairman Jay Diener said he’s confident the town and Rockingham Planning Commission will be able to find a way.
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