Phases 1 through 5 in the southern part of Lebanon County, Phase 7 north of the Lebanon Valley Mall and most of Phase 9 near Jonestown were completed between 2000 and early 2020, totaling about 18 miles. (see LVRT Phase Map) Routine maintenance continues to occur on the built sections of the rail-trail.
Phase 6 — A new Phase 6 alignment has been identified that would use the future trail through the John E. Wengert Park across from the former Lebanon Catholic School complex (Phase 6A), Chestnut Street right-of-way, county owned land along the Hazel Dike and South 22nd Street (Phase 6B), a partially relocated South 22nd Street, a new bridge over the Quittapahilla Creek on South 22nd Street, existing 22nd Street to US Route 422 (Phase 6C) and Lebanon Valley Mall property (Phase 6D) to go from Phase 5 to Phase 7. All of Phase 6 is in final design by the Wilson Consulting Group. Phase 6A is partially funded. In late July, we will be applying for DCED GTRP Funds for some of remaining costs for Phases 6A and 6B, since the November 2019 Phase 6A grant application to PennDOT for Multimodal Transportation Fund (MTF) was not approved. By September 30th, we will submit our grant application to DCED for MTF monies for the balance of funds needed for Phases 6A and 6B. Phases 6A and 6B could go to a bid letting in the fall of 2021 if all of the funding falls in place. We also recently applied for DCNR funds to do Phase 1 of the John E. Wengert Memorial Park. Phase 6B is fully funded and may be combined with Phase 6A as one construction contract. Phase 6C right-of-way negotiations are well underway with the Lebanon Valley Motorcycle Club on S. 22nd Street. A mitigation plan with the club has been proposed, and we are awaiting the club’s final comments. PennDOT has also committed over $1.1 million for Phase 6C improvements as part of the turnback of S. 22nd Street to North Cornwall Township. With Phase 6D, we are working with the owners of the mall on a long-term linear easement through their property. All of Phase 6 will probably not be completed until 2025 or 2026.
Phase 7 — Shared Use 1.8 Mile Path in N. Lebanon Township was completed in mid-2019 with a ribbon cutting ceremony on September 19, 2019. The project has been recently closed out with DCNR and PennDOT.
Phase 8 — Preferred Alignment To Be Determined. PennDOT recently approved $60,000 in planning funds for the LVRT Phase 8 Planning Study. It will be matched with $15,000 in county and LVRT, Inc. in-kind services. The work will begin in late July by The Wilson Consulting Group and be completed by June 30, 2021. A preferred alignment will be one of the study’s major findings and recommendations. Future easements or acquisitions may be needed here.
Phase 9 – mostly complete between New Bunker Hill Road and north of US Route 22 (DCNR Grant # BRC-RTD-16-245)(02/01/13 to 01/31/18) – Shared Use Path in the Jonestown area:
- Current Activity: The project is complete. It was done by Rogele, Inc.
- Type Project: Development of 1.9 mile shared use path on canal towpath and railbed from the railroad bridge over Swatara Creek north to a new underpass of US Route 22.
- Schedule: The project was completed in 2017.
- Budget: $1,099,634 (design, construction and inspection)
- Funding: $236,000 state DCNR funds and $863,634 in LEBCO MPO Federal STP Funds
LVRT Phase 9B (bridge redecking over Swatara Creek at Frogs Hollow and 1,700 feet of trail construction south of the bridge):
- Current Activity: A grant for $575,000 was approved by PennDOT on January 10, 2017. The project has just been completed by Kinsley Construction, Inc. (A property owner easement made it much easier and less impactful to access the project by the contractor, so Kinsley agreed to put $70,000 in additional funds into the trail work.)
- Type Project: Bridge redecking and rail-trail construction
- Schedule: The ribbon cutting ceremony took place on September 19, 2019.
- Budget: $650,000 (design, construction and inspection)
- Funding: $575,000 in PennDOT Statewide TAP Funds; $75,000 in LVRT, Inc. funds and $70,000 from the contractor
Phase 9C (DCNR Grant # BRC-PRD-22- 169)(01/01/17 to 12/31/21) — extending the rail-trail north of US Route 22 to Phase 10 via existing long-term linear easements and extending the rail-trail south from Phase 9B to New Bunker Hill Road:
- Current Activity: A $425,000 grant was approved by DCNR in late December of 2016. The project has advanced through environmental clearance and final design. The one remaining easement was secured in March of 2019.
- Type Project: Rail-trail construction
- Schedule: The bid letting will take place on July 2nd, and the work could be completed by the late spring or early summer of 2021.
- Budget: $425,000 (design, construction and inspection)
- Funding: $425,000 in DCNR Funds … the “soft” match will come from the PennDOT Statewide TAP Funds approved for with Phase 9B
Phase 10 – north of US Route 22 to a connection to the trail system in Swatara State Park near Lickdale, PA. Phase 10 will include 3.0 miles of rail-trail and a 40-space trailhead off of Pine Tree Road in Union Township, Lebanon County:
- Past and Current Activity: Acquisition of the John Light property was completed on June 27, 2016. (This will be used for 99% of the LVRT Phase 10 project.) This acquisition was done with 100% LVRT, Inc. funds. The land is mostly former Union Canal tow path property from US Route 22 to north of I-78. Initial survey work was completed, and county-owned property signs have been erected. This purchase will be used as a match for future state and federal grants. In late 2018, a detailed concept plan and budget were drafted that included a major trailhead at Pine Tree Road. Two property owner easements or acquisitions still need to be completed near Lickdale for the entire right-of-way for the entire Phase 10 project.
- Phase 10A: In April of 2019, we applied for a DCNR grant for the southern section of Phase 10, including two small bridges; this section is now being called Phase 10A. $500,000 was approved by DCNR for design and the construction. The bid letting could occur late in 2020 or early in 2021. Some of the Phase 9C funds may be transferred to this project.
- Project Type: Phase 10A includes rail-trail construction at both ends of the project; construct 2 small bridges; fix washout behind the sewer plant south of Jonestown Road; and install 700+ feet of guiderail at the City of Lebanon Authority site north of Jonestown Road.
- Schedule: In the Lickdale area, we need to resolve environmental issues with DEP and to buy land from two property owners or secure long term easements from them in 2020. We will then finalize a site plan /concept plan in 2021 for all of Phase 10. We will pursue additional grants in the future with PennDOT, DCNR and/or DCED. We would hope to finish final design in 2022 and complete construction in 2023. We may also start to clear and grub some of the land (tow path) where the trail will be located so people can start using it in its current condition, and then we would invite the Secretaries of DCNR and PennDOT to visit the Phase 10 site in the fall of 2021.
- Budget: $90,000+ for appraisal and initial land acquisition; possibly $500,000 for construction of a small portion of the southern end of Phase 10, which we are calling Phase 10A. We estimate that over $5.0 million may be needed for the project.
- Funding: $90,000+ (LVRT, Inc. for initial land acquisition), $2,500 (LEBCO MPO / County for mapping, posting signs and other planning activities); $500,000 from DCNR; possibly $250,000 from a future DCED grant the Lickdale Connector plus LVRT, Inc. funds; and $5.0 million from future state or federal grants for design and construction of the remainder of Phase 10
PennDOT/Lebanon County/LVRT, Inc. Initiative – Inwood Iron Bridges Project:
- Current Phase: Construction started in early 2019 on the new vehicular bridge over Swatara Creek and torestore andrelocate the historic Inwood Iron Bridge to become part of a new county mini-park on the former Charles and Charlotte Allwein property. The new vehicular bridge over Swatara Creek will be owned by Lebanon County. The bid letting took place in late February 2019. The responsible low bidder at $5.1 million was J.D. Eckman, Inc.
- Type Project: New bridge construction and historic bridge restoration/relocation (This location could also be the site for a future boat launch into Swatara Creek.)
- Schedule: All aspects of the project should be completed in late 2020. COVID-19 did delay the project somewhat. The new bridge is nearly complete. The old truss has been repaired and the overall structure of the historic bridge has also been painted. Work on the County park where the historic bridge will rest remains to be completed.
- Budget: $6.0 million +/- secured from PennDOT with discretionary funds
- Funding: PennDOT and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)