Last week, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn joined other state officials and Providence Township representatives in the dedication of an Enola Low Grade Trail bridge over Route 222 in Providence Township, Lancaster County.
Funded by DCNR and PennDOT, the span is one of three bridges linking the 30-mile trail, which stretches from the Susquehanna River in Lancaster County to Atglen, Chester County.
“The Enola Low Grade is a true asset to the citizens of the southern end of Lancaster County,” Dunn told listeners gathered at the Providence Township dedication. “As sections of the trail are completed, it will provide not only health and quality of life benefits to communities, but also lay groundwork for opportunities for sustainable economic growth to support the trail users through bed and breakfasts, restaurants, bike shops, and outfitters.”
DCNR provided $300,000 to pay for design and engineering of the bridge. Bridge construction totaling $2.1 million was funded by PennDOT and Lancaster County.
“We are committed to a truly multi-modal approach as we advance transportation across Pennsylvania and helping to underwrite bicycling improvements is an important way for us to enhance the quality of life for the state,” said PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards. “I personally biked this trail with Secretary Dunn and saw firsthand how this investment will have a positive regional impact.”
DCNR has worked with Lancaster County and local municipalities for almost two decades to construct the trail, and Providence Township has emerged as a keystone in developing sections of the Enola Low Grade Trail east of the Safe Harbor Bridge to Atglen.
“The Enola Low Grade Trail is a great asset to the southern end of Lancaster County,” said Upper Providence Manager Vicki Eldridge. “We are thrilled that the completion of this bridge re-establishes the connection of the trail to the eastern most portions of the trail located in Quarryville Borough and Eden, Bart and Sadsbury townships.”
In addition to Providence Township, the trail passes through six other municipalities: Quarryville Borough, and Martic, Conestoga, Bart, Sadsbury, and Eden townships.
There are three large bridges along the trail. The largest—Safe Harbor in Bridge in Manor and Conestoga townships—recently received $3 million in PennDOT TAP funds and $500,000 in additional DCNR funds.
The second largest, Martic Forge, was heavily damaged by fire April 13, and the third was dedicated last week. Trail proponents say all three are critical for a connected system.
Dunn said a primary goal of DCNR is to provide a trail within 15 minutes’ travel of all Pennsylvanians. Closing priority gaps in existing trails helps achieve this, she said.
Pennsylvania’s outdoor recreation economy generates $29 billion in consumer spending; $1.9 billion in state and local tax revenue; $8.6 billion in wages and salaries; and sustains 251,000 direct Pennsylvania jobs.