NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – Connecting the people of New Haven with the waterfront. That’s the goal of the Mill River Trail.

Wednesday marks the beginning of phase three of the project where a dead-end road is being removed at the corner of Haven and Exchange Streets in Fair Haven.

“There’s going to be swells on both sides of the roadway going down the middle planted with native vegetation and trees,” said Nicole Davis, Save the Sound Watershed Coordinator.

Phase one of the project began on Grand Avenue after a group of volunteers got together to clean up sections of the riverbank. It’s a re-beautification project that’s being funded by grants and foundations.

Once all three phases are complete, the trail will span 17 miles. It will give the public a place for walking, biking, and eventually a place of learning for students at nearby schools.

“We’ve been working with teachers at John Martinez and Cold Spring School, which is the next school down the road to develop a curriculum to use this as a learning laboratory, teaching children the value of the environment,” Davis said.

But first, phase three must be completed. That will happen over the next six weeks and be ready for the public by spring.