Rail-trail details expected Thursday in Chambersburg

February 20, 2002

Rail-trail details expected Thursday in Chambersburg

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Planners of a 1.1-mile rail-trail in downtown Chambersburg will update their progress at a public meeting Thursday.

The borough has nearly $630,000 to spend on the project, which has been in the works since 1996 when CSX decided it would abandon the tracks running through downtown Chambersburg.

Once the final train ran through town in November 2000, planning began in earnest.

The goal of the Rail-Trail Design Committee is to put the project out to bid this spring so construction could begin this summer, said Mayor Tom Newcomer, committee chairman.

"The next phase is submitting the design to PennDOT and other agencies for permits to construct," he said.

Newcomer and the designers, the RBA Group, will present the latest plans Thursday, at the third in a series of public meetings in the past year.


"The design is about 95 percent complete," he said. "We will still take more input Thursday if someone has something new to say."

They should also know at that point how close the project is to the $630,000 mark and if any amenities have to be cut, Newcomer said.

The design committee hopes the trestle bridge that runs over the Conococheague Creek will become a focal point. After looking at both open and covered bridges, Newcomer said the committee has included a covered bridge in the plans.

Safety and handicap accessibility of the trail also remain priorities.

There are eight intersections along the trail, which will run along the old CSX rail bed from South Street to Commerce Street.

While the committee has investigated various signage and traffic control devices to make the intersections safe for pedestrians to cross, Newcomer also asked the borough to consider allocating funds to make the sidewalks handicap-accessible with wheelchair ramps.

Last week, the Chambersburg Borough Council awarded $30,000 to make 20 corners in the borough handicap-accessible. None of the proposed intersections were along the rail-trail, and Newcomer urged the council to consider designating some of the 2002 Small Cities Community Development Block Grant funds to include curb cuts on the trail.

The trail is slated to be a 10- to 12-foot wide paved surface to allow for all kinds of recreational activities from running to roller-blading.

- Stacey Danzuso

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