$516,501 Awarded for new Schuylkill River Trail Pedestrian Bridge over Route 724

Schuylkill River Greenways NHA has been awarded a PA Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources grant totaling $516,501 for the construction of a Schuylkill River Trail pedestrian bridge over Route 724. The bridge will be located in Union Township near Monocacy Station. Funding will provide for ADA access, landscaping, project sign and other related site improvements. Schuylkill River Greenways hopes to begin construction in 2019. The bridge is expected to take one year to build.

The total project cost has been estimated at about $1 million. The DCNR grant will pay for construction expenses, according to Schuylkill River Greenways Trail Manager Robert Folwell. An additional $325,636 has been secured from the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission to cover design, inspection, engineering and administrative costs associated with the project, as well as a portion of construction expenses. Schuylkill River Greenways will be applying to additional private and grant funding sources to make up the approximate $150,000 shortfall.

Preliminary design work for the project is already underway, and the final design phase will begin early next year, with the hopes of going out to bid in fall 2018 so that construction can begin the following spring, Folwell said.

A pedestrian bridge is needed at that location in order to ensure a safe crossing for trail users.

“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 crossing is located in Monocacy along the Thun Section of the Schuylkill River Trail, and is part of the 20-mile Pottstown to Reading stretch.

Currently, trail users must descend a steep slope in order to cross Route 724 and ascend another slope on the opposite road bank. The slope was created by a former railroad bridge that was removed before that section of the Schuylkill River Trail was built along an old railroad bed.

Schuylkill River 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 sixty miles complete, including a section of over 30 miles stretching from Philadelphia to Phoenixville. That section will connect with the Pottstown to Reading section in the next several years.

The Schuylkill River Greenways NHA manages over 30 miles of the Schuylkill River Trail in Berks and Schuylkill Counties, and works with partners to expand and improve the entire trail. Learn more at www.schuylkillriver.org.