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      Fort to Port race marks grand opening of new U.S. 24 stretch

      Runners and cyclists took to the streets Tuesday in a race to mark the grand opening of the new U.S. Route 24.

      Nearly 1,000 participants of all ages competed in the 2012 Fort to Port Bike-Run-Walk at the Kroger in Waterville. The event gave racers the chance to beat auto traffic to the new stretch of highway.

      Cyclist Doug Grosjean remembered, "Before 280 opened long ago my Dad took his Hudson down it." He continued, "I would love to do something like that and now I can."

      Bikers chose to pedal courses of either 10 or 20 miles while runners/walkers covered a course that stretched 4.2 miles. The first 100 registered male and female racers to finish each received medals. All participants to cross the finish line took home a Finisher's Certificate and a raffle ticket to win one of fifty U.S. 24 Fort to Port mugs.

      "It was a neat experience, not too many times you get to run in the middle of the highway like that," said Matt Folk, who finished first amongst runners. "It got you going again when you were getting tired at the end," he said of the support from fellow participants.

      The project that was decades in the making reroutes the Waterville section of the new U.S. 24 around residential areas.

      Will you feel safer on U.S. 24 now that it is diverted around residential areas? Let us know on our Facebook fanpage .