Phases 1 through 5
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 late 2020, totaling about 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 75% complete. Phase 6A is partially funded.
In 2020, the County on behalf of LVRT, Inc. applied for $250,000 in DCED GTRP Funds for some of remaining costs for Phases 6A. It was not approved.
In the fall of 2020, the County on behalf of LVRT, Inc. also submitted a grant application to DCED for MTF monies for the balance of funds needed for Phases 6A and 6B … $425,000 from DCED, $200,000 from the county and $100,000 from LVRT, Inc. This grant application was later increased to $875,000 as per DCED’s request, as well as the County seeking a waiver of the local match. This grant was also not approved.
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 $400,000 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 fall of 2021 if we find full replacement funding.
Phase 6B is fully funded and will be combined with Phase 6A as one construction contract, again if funding permits.
Phase 6C right-of-way negotiations are well underway with 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 over $1.1 million 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 in mid-2021.
With Phase 6D, we are working with the owners of the mall on a long-term permanent linear easement through their property that will not allow additional future construction within the easement. Phase 6D could be built in 2026. No funds are in place for that project right now.
Shared Use 1.8 Mile Path in N. Lebanon Township
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 will be 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.
- Budget: $1,099,634 (design, construction and inspection)
- Funding: $236,000 state DCNR funds and $863,634 in LEBCO MPO Federal STP Funds
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 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 $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
(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 $425,000 grant was approved by DCNR in late December of 2016. The project is well underway by Farhat Excavating LLC, which will be completed this summer.
- Type Project: Rail-trail construction
- Schedule: The work could be completed by the end of 2020 or in the spring 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
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 2021, 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. This Myers’ action needs to be completed by mid-2021 near Lickdale for the entire right-of-way for the entire Phase 10 project to be in our hands.
- 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. $500,000 was approved by DCNR for design and the construction. The bid letting could occur in April 2021, as Phase 9C work is wrapping up.
- 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.
- Budget: $90,000+ for appraisal and initial land acquisition; $500,000 for construction of a small portion of the southern end of Phase 10, which we are calling Phase 10A. We estimate that up to $5.0 million may be needed for the total 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 for the Lickdale Connector plus LVRT, Inc. funds; and $4.0 to $5.0 million from future state and/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: 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 at $5.1 million 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.
- Budget: $6.0 million +/- secured from PennDOT with discretionary funds
- Funding: PennDOT and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)
- Current Phase: We are awaiting a legal opinion from the railroad authority about whether we can amend the previous agreement we have with them on other southern sections of the rail-trail that were acquired many years ago. The railroad has been paying the taxes on the Alcoa Spur since 2004. If we can amend that long ago agreement, County taxes may have to be refunded to the railroad. We are still looking into getting this right-of-way for free from the railroad, as long as we pay any legal and administrative fees for the transfer of the title.