NORRISTOWN, PA — The Montgomery County Commissioners joined with other local officials Friday to break ground on the Chester Valley Trail Extension, a planned 3.8-mile extension of the Chester Valley Trail. When complete, the extension will link the existing 14.5-mile portion of the Chester Valley Trail, which currently runs from Exton to King of Prussia, to the Schuylkill River Trail in Norristown.
“Among many other lessons, the COVID-19 pandemic has certainly highlighted how important our trails are to our residents—with trails experiencing significant increases in use this past year. The addition of the Chester Valley Trail Extension will further expand and connect this vitally important regional trail network,” said Dr. Valerie A. Arkoosh, Chair of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners. “The significance of completing this nearly 4-mile gap in the Chester Valley Trail cannot be overstated. It will literally transform the ability to recreate and commute between Chester County and points throughout Montgomery County.”
The trail extension includes installing two pedestrian bridges at South Gulph Road and Henderson Road, enhancing two bridges for increased bike and pedestrian use, and renovating the historic freight station building at the confluence of the Chester Valley Trail and the Schuylkill River Trail in Norristown.
“We celebrate the popularity of our trails with the understanding that there is a disparity when it comes to the diversity of people who use them, their awareness of them, and their ability to access them, most notably in our more urbanized portions of the county such as Pottstown and Norristown,” said Kenneth E. Lawrence, Jr., Vice Chair of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners. “While the construction and connection of Chester Valley Trail will contribute toward addressing some of these disparities, it is incumbent upon all of us to continue exploring ways to encourage all of our communities and residents to explore and enjoy these incredible assets, especially those who have traditionally not had the opportunity to do so.”
The Chester Valley Trail Extension passes through three municipalities, Upper Merion Township, Bridgeport, and Norristown. The trail is being constructed as a 10- to 12-foot-wide, paved, multiuse path that is part of the Circuit Trails network, a vast regional network of hundreds of miles of multiuse trails in the Greater Philadelphia region that is growing in size each year.
“Breaking ground on the Chester Valley Trail extension demonstrates the exciting progress being made toward our goal of building out 500 miles of Circuit Trails by 2025,” said Sarah Clark Stuart, Chair of the Circuit Trails Coalition and Executive Director of the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia. “When the 3.8-mile trail extension is complete, the trail will increase connectivity, not only for those in Montgomery County, but for everyone throughout the region. We are excited that this new trail segment, like all the others that are a part of the Circuit Trails, gives the community another opportunity to do what they love and create their own My Circuit Trails moments.”
The project is funded in part by the federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program (CMAQ), the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources C2P2 grant program, and the William Penn Foundation.
The project contractor is Allan Myers of Worcester, the construction manager/Inspector is JBC Associates, Inc. of King of Prussia, and the trail engineer is Boles, Smyth Associates of Philadelphia. Construction is estimated to be complete in October 2022.
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