Cyclists cross Route 724 at the Schuylkill River Trail intersection in Monocacy during September
POTTSTOWN PA – A state grant of more than $516,000 was awarded to the Pottstown-based Schuylkill River Greenways National Heritage Area to build a river trail pedestrian bridge over Route 724 near Monocacy Station, 8 miles west of the borough. The funding includes provisions for access by the disabled, landscaping, signage, and other site improvements, the organization said Tuesday (Dec. 19, 2017).
A pedestrian bridge is needed at that location in order to ensure a safe crossing for trail users, Greenways Trail Manager Robert Folwell said. The crossing is along the Thun Section of the Schuylkill River Trail, and is part of the 20-mile Pottstown-to-Reading stretch.
Construction is expected to begin in 2019, and should take about a year to complete. Preliminary design work for the project is already under way, and a final design phase will begin early next year. Bids could go out in Fall 2018.
The total project cost has been estimated at about $1 million. The new grant from the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources grant will pay for construction expenses, according to Folwell. Another $325,636 from the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission covers design, inspection, engineering, and administrative costs. More grants and private funding are anticipated for the remaining $150,000.
“This is a high-traffic area along Route 724 where cars are traveling at a high rate of speed with poor sight distances, and trail users must negotiate a steep hill on either side,” said Folwell. The slopes were created by removal of a former railroad bridge before that trail section was built along an old railroad bed.
Greenways installed visible warning signs at the intersection last year. Those signs were paid for through Safe Crossing funds raised through the sale of Sly Fox Brewery’s SRT Ale.
The Schuylkill River Trail is a multi-use trail that, when complete, will run an estimated 130 miles along the entire length of the river. There are currently more than 60 miles completed, including a section of more than 30 miles stretching from Philadelphia to Phoenixville. That section will connect with the Pottstown-to-Reading section in the next several years.
Photo from the Schuylkill River Greenways National Heritage Area