Rail Trail project on road to completion

August 17, 2005|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - The southern section of Chambersburg's Rail Trail is nearing completion and the contractor says the project will be finished on schedule and within budget by early October.

Chris Hann of George S. Hann & Son Inc. of Fort Littleton, Pa., said Tuesday the section from South Street north to Lincoln Way West is "95 percent done" with the only remaining work being the painting of crosswalks where the trail crosses streets.

Along its 1.1-mile length, the trail will vary from 8 feet to 12 feet in width, Hann said. Paving of the northern end, which extends to Commerce Street, should be completed next week, he said.


Earlier this year, bids on the project came in well above the $631,000 in federal and state grants available the borough acquired several years ago for the trail. The Chambersburg Borough Council, however, approved the low bid by Hann and trimmed the cost to $626,000, Mayor Tom Newcomer said.

The borough Electric Department put conduits in place along the southern end of the trail for light standards to replace lights removed from along the old railroad line, Newcomer said.

Newcomer said people already are using the trail, which is wheelchair accessible.

Much of the trail will be open 24 hours a day as any borough street or sidewalk is, Newcomer said. Sections without adequate lighting between Lincoln Way West and West Queen Street, and West King Street and Commerce Street will be closed at night, he said.

The borough is seeking additional federal assistance to make further improvements to the trail, the mayor said. The borough is working with the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources for a $50,000 grant to extend the trail another half-mile from South Street to South Main Street, he said.

Newcomer said it has been nine years since the rail trail was proposed. Nationally, he said rail trail projects normally take eight to 10 years from conception to construction.

Newcomer said the borough received $97,000 from the state for the trail's design.

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