Scott Everett, Trails Manager for the Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor, recently issued a report that provided a look ahead at current and future projects to complete the 165 mile Delaware and Lehigh Trail. When the trail is complete it will connect the Wilkes Barre area of Northeast Pennsylvania with the East Coast Greenway in Bristol.
Several major gaps in the trail are being filled as we speak. In the Bucks County section of the D&L the first of the 5 barriers on the lower section of the trail is expected to go under construction. The Route 13 Tunnel construction project has been let (awarded to a contractor) and construction will begin in the next few months. A second tunnel project under the CSX Tracks south of Morrisville has been delayed because of funding and land ownership issues. Finally a third barrier, the trail design for the dangerous Route 13 crossing at Green Lane in Bristol Township, is currently undergoing a design review process by PENNDOT project managers. PENNDOT will construct the connection as part of the Route 13 Revitalization project.
Meanwhile to the north the D&L Heritage Corridor is frantically piecing together a continuous trail in Northampton, Lehigh, Carbon and Luzerne Counties. The pieces include:
The 10 mile Black Diamond Trail is currently under construction and will connect the Lehigh Gorge terminous at White Haven to the appropriately-named Mountain Top at an elevation of 1700 feet. This will be the new northern terminus and should be completed this spring.
A proposed pedestrian bridge just south of Jim Thorpe would connect the Lehigh Gorge section to the Lehigh Canal. The current construction estimate is in 2014.
Completion of the Lehighton Trailhead in the Spring.
A package of small connector projects which will fill in the remaining gaps in Carbon County.
Upgrading the Freemansburg section of the Lehigh Canal in Northampton County from dirt and grass to crushed stone. Completion should arrive later this year.
A short connecting trail between Hugh Moore Canal Park and the Palmer Township trail west of Easton.