AUBURN – Hikers and cyclists on the Schuylkill River Trail have another bridge to cross and use as a vantage point to enjoy the scenery.
Schuylkill River Greenways officials celebrated the newly renovated Schuylkill River Trail Auburn Bridge on Wednesday.
They were joined by representatives from the office of US Representative Dan Meuser, R-9, Dallas, the Schuylkill Chamber of Commerce and the State Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
Also in attendance were the three Schuylkill County Commissioners, State Senator David G. Argall, R-29, Rush Twp., And members of the public.
Some of those present cycled the Schuylkill River Trail to the bridge.
Open at the end of August, the bridge spans the river in the borough and township of West Brunswick. The project cost $ 730,000.
The bridge was originally built by the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1919 to compete with the Reading Railroad, which built a similar bridge alongside that is used by the Reading Blue Mountain & Northern Railroad. The waterfalls below are known as “The Falls”.
During Wednesday’s event, those in attendance crossed the bridge’s concrete footpath deck, which is surrounded by steel guardrails and stops just before a second railroad bridge, and, at the Julia Hurle, the organization’s director of trails, jumped on it to demonstrate its strength.
In her opening remarks, Schuylkill River Greenways executive director Elaine Schaefer said the bridge is the second in a three-phase project to link Hamburg to Auburn.
The overall project is part of the planned 120-mile trail that the Pottstown-based organization is building from Philadelphia to Frackville.
The first phase, which cost $ 700,000, involved the reclamation of nearby mining lands, which included rough grading of trails and access roads, said Greenways deputy manager Tim Fenchel. The last phase of $ 2 million is to connect the Kernsville dam. This part of the trail will start right next to the bridge.
Hurle said the final phase will kick off this fall, with contracts scheduled to arrive next year and work to be completed by the end of next year.
Lorne Possinger, recreation and conservation manager for DCNR in eastern Pennsylvania, noted that the state has the most miles of rail trails, while Arggall said the bridge “connects communities.” Further remarks were made by the Commissioners and Tom Gerhard, Deputy District Director and Director of Community Development for Meuser.
The celebration ended with the hanging of a banner detailing the final phase of the project on a fence at the end of the bridge in front of the old railway bridge.
Hurle also highlighted another project the organization is involved in: extending the Saint Clair section of the trail to cross the Mount Carbon Arch Bridge, which PennDOT officials are moving from the borough to the mall.