Lehigh Valley Bikeway gets $1.65m to link Bristol to Allentown at Mountain Top

In the future, cyclists, backpackers and travelers will be able to travel more than 140 miles from Philadelphia to Mountain Top, Luzerne County and through the Lehigh Valley, and a new round of public funding will make that possible.

State Representative Jeanne McNeill announced Monday that the state has awarded $1.65 million to help connect parts of the Delaware and Lehigh (D&L) Trail. The money will be used to connect 60 miles of trail north of North Catasauqua to 70 miles of trail starting at Allentown’s Canal Park and south to Philly.

Connections on the Delaware & Lehigh (D&L) Trail are expected to take three to five years. When complete, the trail will stretch from Mountain Top in Luzerne County to Bristol in Bucks County.

“The D&L Trail is an incredible asset to the greater Lehigh Valley as it provides residents with more opportunities to enjoy outdoor recreation,” McNeill said. “This funding will help fill a major gap in the trail and improve the quality of life for residents of area communities.

The Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor, Inc., announced in November that it had received $7 million to complete the trails. Monday’s announcement confirmed that the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources had secured the money for the project, said Claire Widermuth Sadler, executive director of the Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor, Inc.

Here are the funding details:

  • The City of Allentown received $650,000 to build 1.1 miles of trail between the existing D&L Trail at Bradford Street and the Allentown-Hanover Township border.
  • Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor, Inc. received $960,000 to develop 0.75 miles of trail in the borough of Catasauqua, from Race Street to Catasauqua’s northern border.
  • Hanover Township received $693,700 to build 0.5 miles of trail from the Hanover Township-Allentown border to Highway 22, to construct a highway crossing point and develop 0, 4 mile trail from Route 22 to Canal Park.

Each trail will be ADA compliant, according to a state press release. Projects were part of seven trail grants awarded totaling approximately $3 million. Wildermuth Sadler said she expects that once the trails are completed, local economies will benefit the most from hikers and cyclists taking two-day trips through the Lehigh Valley.

The D&L Trail has the potential to be as remarkable as the Great Allegheny Passage in western Pennsylvania, a 150-mile bike path that stretches from Pittsburgh to Cumberland, Maryland, she said.

“It’s something that people don’t always think about, they think you have these two tracks, but connecting them will bring more economic development to the area,” she said.

There are already several hostels and Airbnbs located along the trail.

Learn more about trailheads near you and trail conditions on the Delaware and Lehigh Corridor website.

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Glenn Epps can be reached at [email protected] or glenn_epps_on Twitter.

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