Construction to connect Harford County’s Ma & Pa trail is coming along, with the county beginning work on the second of three segments a few weeks ago.
When finished, the second segment will stretch about a mile from the recently completed crosswalk on North Main Street in Bel Air and to the North Park Center offices off North Avenue. It is budgeted to cost about $2.4 million, Cindy Mumby, a spokespeson for Harford County Government, said.
The county acquired in 2016 the last of the easements it needed to connect the two existing sections of the trail named for the old Maryland & Pennsylvania Railroad that cut across the states’ borders.
Estimated to cost about $9.5 million in total, the new segments of trail planned would link existing sections of the trail in Forest Hill and Fallston with a connecting path running through Bel Air.
Once all is said and done, the trail will span around 7.5 continuous miles, she said, from East Jarrettsville Road in Friends Park in Forest Hill to Annie’s Playground in Fallston.
The connection is divided into three segments. The first — a crosswalk across Bel Air’s Main Street near Independent Brewing Company — has been completed.
The second segment currently under construction will extend from the crosswalk along the telephone wires right of way and continue behind the Hickory Hills condominiums along Ma & Pa Road, crossing Moores Mill Road. The trail will then extend along the back of Bel Air Memorial Gardens to North Avenue.
The third section will be about 1.5 miles and connect the portion being constructed now with the existing portion that ends on Melrose Lane at Blake’s Venture. That final section is estimated to cost about $6.8 million, Mumby said.
Parts of the trail will be paved, Mumby said, but the county does not have plans to pave existing sections of the trail.
The Ma & Pa trail has been a priority for County Executive Barry Glassman and seen as a boon for local businesses, Mumby said. With the connection to run through Bel Air, she reasoned, it would be easier for pedestrians and cyclists to get to local spots along its length.
“For the first time, the trail will go through downtown Bel Air, so it will be walking distance or biking distance for people to get to jobs, or restaurants or shops,” she said.