Bids set to go out on borough's rail-trail project

August 02, 2004|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - With eight years of planning in the books, actual work on the Chambersburg rail-trail could take place before the end of the year, Mayor Thomas Newcomer said.

"I'm cautiously optimistic it will be paved by late fall," Newcomer said Thursday of the 1.1-mile trail that will run from South Street north to Commerce Street along a downtown rail bed once used by CSX.

During last week's borough council meeting, officials announced that bids on the project are ready for advertising. A pre-bid conference is scheduled for Aug. 13 and the bids will be opened Sept. 3, according to Newcomer.


Newcomer said the borough will have 45 days to accept or reject the bids after Sept. 3.

The tentative date to award the contract on the project is Friday, Sept. 13, Borough Secretary Tanya Mickey said.

Major work elements include grading and surfacing the existing gravel rail bed; trail lighting; converting a trestle over the Conococheague Creek into a covered bridge; landscaping; curbs and sidewalks, signing and marking eight road crossings along the route; and installation of six flashing crosswalk warning beacons.

From South to King streets, the surface will be asphalt varying in width from 8 to 12 feet. The trail surface will be gravel and 10 feet wide from King to Commerce Street, according to the rail-trail plan.

The borough has access to $331,000 in federal funds through the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, plus another $334,000 pledged to the project first by former U.S. Rep. Bud Shuster and now by his son, U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, R-9th, according to Mickey.

A section of the trail will run through the Southgate Shopping Center and the owner of the mall, Paran Management Co. of Cleveland, Ohio, will build a gazebo there with restrooms on its lower level, according to Paran President Joseph M. Shafran.

"This is going to be an active bike trail. It's nice to have a pit stop," said Shafran, who added that some bikers may also choose to become shoppers when they stop at the gazebo.

Shafran, who was in Chambersburg last week for the opening of the U.S. Factory Outlets store at the mall, said Paran will manage and maintain the gazebo.

While paving may be completed before the onset of winter, Newcomer said other parts of the project likely will be done next year, including landscaping and lighting.

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