A major obstacle in the completion of the 165-mile Delaware & Lehigh (D&L) Trail is a step closer to being eliminated, thanks to a recent award that will close gaps in the trail in Lower Bucks County and promote a regional network of multi-use trails within the Greater Philadelphia area.
A $471,000 grant from the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission’s (DVRPC) Regional Trails Program – funded through the William Penn Foundation – paired with $1.69 million of Federal Transportation Enhancement funds secured by the Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor, will be used to connect two segments of the D&L Trail in Tullytown Borough, Bucks County, that are currently disconnected by U.S. Route 13. The project is being administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR).
The disconnected sections of the D&L Trail will be brought together by a tunnel constructed underneath the four-lane Route 13. The trail through the tunnel will be 12 feet wide and composed of concrete. Ramps will lead down to the tunnel from the two existing trail sections. The trail will follow the old towpath of the Delaware Canal, which was filled in at Route 13 during the 1950s.
“It’s very rewarding to be a part of the partnership that is working to complete key links in the region’s trail network,” said Allen Sachse, Executive Director and President of the Heritage Corridor. “The Route 13 crossing brings the Delaware Canal Towpath portion of the D&L Trail one big step closer to completion.”
The D&L Trail, which will run from Wilkes-Barre to Bristol when complete, has been identified as a “Regional Trunk Trail” connecting Lower Bucks County to Philadelphia and extending north into the Lehigh and Wyoming valleys. DCNR has worked closely with the Heritage Corridor for nearly a decade to secure funding for the Route 13 project. Once completed, the tunnel underneath Route 13 will allow trail users in Lower Bucks County greater access to Delaware Canal State Park, which parallels the Delaware River through Bucks and Northampton counties and ends in Easton.
The Route 13 project is in its final design stage and is expected to go out to bid in late 2011. Construction is expected to begin in late 2012.