Phases 1 through 5 in the southern part of Lebanon County, Phase 7 north of the Lebanon Valley Mall and all of Phase 9 near Jonestown were completed between 2000 and early 2021, totaling just over 18 miles. (see LVRT Phase Map) Routine maintenance continues to occur on the built sections of the rail-trail.
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; it is about 80% complete. Phase 6A is partially funded. Phase 6B is fully funded.
In mid-April of 2021, the County resubmitted its application to DCNR funds to do Phase 1 of the John E. Wengert Memorial Park, which includes some Phase 6A rail-trail work. The match for this grant will come from the recently-approved DCED tourism grant. These DCED funds need to be used by the end of calendar year 2022.
Phases 6A and 6B could go to a bid letting in the spring of 2022 if we get approval from DCNR this fall on our mid-April 2021 grant application.
As mentioned above, Phase 6B is fully funded and will be combined with Phase 6A as one construction contract, if funding permits.
Phase 6C right-of-way negotiations are well underway with North Cornwall Township, the Lebanon Valley Motorcycle Club and the City of Lebanon Authority along South 22nd Street. A mitigation plan with the club has been approved. PennDOT has also committed a significant amount of money for Phase 6C improvements as part of the turnback of S. 22nd Street to North Cornwall Township. Phase 6C could be built in 2025, depending upon how these state funds from PennDOT get positioned in the LEBCO MPO’s next Transportation Improvement Program, which will be finalized later this year. If this right-of-way is 100% owned by the County/LVRT, Inc. before the end of the calendar year, a Transportation Alternatives Set-Aside (TASA) grant will also be submitted to PennDOT this October for Phase 6C.
With Phase 6D, we are working with the owners of the mall on a long-term permanent linear easement through their property. Phase 6D could be built in 2026. No funds are in place for that project right now. A TASA grant could be submitted for Phase 6D in 2022.
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 closed out.
Preferred Alignment To Be Determined. PennDOT approved $60,000 in planning funds for the LVRT Phase 8 Planning Study. It was matched with $15,000 in county and LVRT, Inc. in-kind services. The work began in late July of 2020 by The Wilson Consulting Group and will be completed by June 30, 2022. Meetings with key property owners are well underway. A preferred alignment will be one of the study’s major findings and recommendations. Future easements or acquisitions may be needed here.
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.
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 was approved by PennDOT on January 10, 2017. The project was completed in 2020 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 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.
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, as well as installing a fence at the Neidig property and installing guiderail at the City of Lebanon Authority plant north of Jonestown Road, fixing drainage issues & wash-outs on the existing trial and building a small bridge near Phase 10A:
- Current Activity: A grant was approved by DCNR in late December of 2016. The project was just completed by Farhat Excavating LLC.
- Type Project: Rail-trail construction
- Schedule: The work was completed in late April of 2021.
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 if needed a 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 towpath property from US Route 22 to north of I-78. Initial survey work was completed, and some county-owned property signs were erected. This purchase will be used as a match for future state and federal grants. In 2022, a detailed concept plan and budget will be drafted. Two property owner easements or acquisitions (May and Myers properties) were needed for Phase 10 … the May easement was finalized and productive talks are now underway with Mr. Myers; these are in the Lickdale area. The Myers’ action needs to be completed in the coming months so we can pursue more grants.
Phase 10A: In April of 2019, we applied for a DCNR grant for the southern section of Phase 10 up to Pine Tree Road. Design is underway by the Wilson Consulting Group. The trail will be located on the towpath, including one small bridge. This section is now being called Phase 10A. The grant was approved by DCNR for design and the construction. The bid letting will occur soon, now that Phase 9C work has been completed.
- Project Type: Rail-trail construction at both ends of the project; construct 1 small bridge.
- Schedule: In the Lickdale area, we also need to resolve environmental issues with DEP. We would hope to finish final design in 2022. We will pursue additional grants in the future with PennDOT, DCNR and/or DCED probably in 2022 and 2023. We may also start to clear and grub some of the land (towpath) 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 (possibly September) of 2021.
PennDOT/Lebanon County/LVRT, Inc. Initiative – Inwood Iron Bridges Project:
- Current Phase: The project has been completed. Construction started in early 2019 on the new vehicular bridge over Swatara Creek and to restore and relocate the historic Inwood Iron Bridge as part of a new county mini-park on the former Charles and Charlotte Allwein property. The new vehicular bridge over Swatara Creek is owned by Lebanon County. The bid letting took place in late February 2019. The responsible low bidder was J.D. Eckman, Inc.
- Type Project: New bridge construction and historic bridge restoration/relocation (This location in the mini-park could also be the site for a future boat launch into Swatara Creek.)
- Schedule: All aspects of the project were completed in late 2020. The old truss bridge has also been fully restored for public viewing, just south of the new vehicular bridge.