People walk and run along a section of the Kennebec River Rail Trail in Hallowell in October 2020. A section of the 6½- mile trail that lines the Kennebec River from Augusta to Gardiner will be closed Wednesday, blocking through traffic. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal file

FARMINGDALE — People looking to travel between Gardiner and Augusta by way of the Kennebec River Rail Trail will need to make alternate plans Wednesday, when workers will shut down part of it to replace a culvert that’s too small.

The 6½-mile trail that runs along its namesake river will be closed near the 3.75-mile marker in Farmingdale, just behind Elliott Office Products at 727 Maine Ave., according to Phil Garwood, who represents Gardiner on the trail’s board of supervisors.

“People won’t be able to get through there at all,” Garwood said. He said he wanted to make sure commuters are aware of the temporary closure so they do not have to turn around midway through their morning trek to work.

The trail is used by walkers, runners, cyclists, skateboarders, people on roller blades and others.

Garwood said two large rainstorms in the last year — one in December and one in May — caused water to overflow the banks of a stream that cuts through that area.

“Behind what used to be the bike shop (at mile marker 3.75), there’s a low area, a depression — there was 4½ feet of water over the pavement in that part of the rail trail,” last December, Garwood said. “The water undercut the pavement. The culvert under the railroad tracks couldn’t handle that much water.”

The trail has been “mostly repaired” and stabilized in that area but not repaved, Garwood said.

The Maine Department of Transportation on Wednesday will install a new, larger culvert that can handle more water. The trail is projected to be closed only on Wednesday, though prep work will begin Tuesday.

The same area of the trail was damaged in September 2015 after a rainstorm dumped 6½ inches of rain on the region.

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