The wheels are in motion on a new transportation link that would connect trail systems in the Maritimes and Maine and create the longest trail network in the world.

“This is years in the making,” says Tanya Herrington of Coastal Link Trail Inc. “Locals have seen this vision for a long time, so we're finally able to put the wheels in motion to make this happen.”

The proposed connector trail that would wind its way from St. Stephen to Saint John and link communities in between.

Once completed, it would connect the East Coast Greenway that stretches from Maine to Florida with the Trans-Canada Trail. That trail runs about 24,000 km from St. John's to Victoria, B.C.

“St. Stephen being one of the trail heads, work is underway right now, we just had the engineering study done and St. Stephen will be the first to get their trail implemented and upgraded,” Herrington said.

Between 70 and 80 per cent of the new trail will be on already-existing roadways, which Herrington says could further open up the New Brunswick market to cycling tourism.

Along with a tourism boost, one St. Stephen group believes that the new coastal link trail will also attract new residents to the region.

“People now can live anywhere and work around the world if you like, remotely, so what they want is a community that they enjoy living in and the community around them and the community includes walking trails and the downtown and those types of things so it's a tremendous asset,” said Richard Fulton, the president of Future St. Stephen.

The project is more of a marathon than a sprint. Officials estimate it will be completed in anywhere from five to 10 years.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Laura Lyall.