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Pa. rail trail gets federal funding

May 19, 2000|By LAURA ERNDE

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - U.S. Rep. Bud Shuster announced more than $1.25 million in federal funding for three local transportation projects, including a rail-trail in downtown Chambersburg.

The grant money will also be used to widen 5.1 miles of roads in Antrim Township, develop the Buchanan Trail Pedestrian Walkway and illustrate the history of U.S. 30, the Lincoln Highway.

Chambersburg has spent more than two years planning the mile-long rail to trail, which will run south into downtown from a wooded area along the Conococheague Creek.

A feasibility study was completed in 1998, but the project was kept waiting for an infusion of federal money, said Chambersburg Councilman Thomas Newcomer.

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The rail-trail would not have been possible unless Norfolk Southern, CSX and Conrail had agreed to reroute train traffic around downtown Chambersburg, said Shuster, R-Pa. The rail removal and transfer project, federally funded at a cost of $17 million, will eliminate nine rail-highway crossings, he said.

Establishing the rail-trail will cost $760,000. Of that, $631,000 is coming from the federal government and $100,000 is expected to come from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. The borough of Chambersburg will provide the remaining $29,000.

It will take about one year to design the trail and another year for construction, Newcomer said.

Shuster also announced federal money for:

* Widening Grant Shook Road, Church Road and East Weaver Road to 28 feet to ease congestion on roads leading to and from future park and recreational facilities planned around the historic Martin's Mill covered bridge, Shuster's office said.

The $111,110 grant will also be used to mark bicycle and pedestrian lanes for safety.

* An interactive highway presentation on the history of U.S. 30 Lincoln Highway between Westmoreland County and Franklin County.

The $350,000 grant will be used for historical billboards and programs such as the "Pump Parade," a series of vintage gas pumps along the corridor with interpretive information, visitor's brochures and complimentary postcards.

* Washington Township's Buchanan Trail Pedestrian Walkway. The $260,000 grant will connect the existing sidewalk system in Waynesboro to the YMCA, the school district sidewalk system, Renfrew Park and the Wayne Heights Shopping Center in Washington Township.

The grants were funded through the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA 21), authored by Shuster in 1998.

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