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BUILD grant would further connect region via bike trails

An ambitious project attached to the Pine Creek Rail Trail appears promising.

So does a partnership among three counties — Lycoming, Clinton and Tioga — aimed at obtaining a $23.3 million federal grant from the Federal Highway Administration. The entire project is estimated to cost $28.5 million and includes other funding already secured.

While it includes a number of initiatives, the Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) grant would allow the 62-mile Pine Creek Rail Trail to grow into an 80-mile network of trails in the three counties and involve a number of safety improvements.

On the northern end of the Rail Trail, the 3.2-mile Marsh Creek Greenway would provide an attractive alternative to Route 6 for pedestrians and bicyclists.

On the southern end, the 11-mile Bald Eagle Valley Trail would link communities from Lock Haven to the Rail Trail’s southern terminus in Jersey Shore, where safety improvements, bike lanes and signage are planned.

Also in Jersey Shore would be the replacement of the underground Lawshe Run Culvert.

Finally, the Lycoming Valley Railroad Bridge would be elevated to enable movement of materials by rail.

With the three counties working together, they make a stronger case for funding. We join them in hoping for success on this grant application.

Efforts to connect communities in the region via bicycle routes have strengthened our quality of life.

Since 1996, when the first section of the Pine Creek Rail Trail was opened, many people have fallen in love with the pastime of bicycling along scenic trails, whether it be Pine Creek or the Riverwalk in Greater Williamsport or the Buffalo Valley Rail Trail near Lewisburg — there are many others to be found in different locations near and far.

The dream of trail planners has been to be able to connect all of our communities, to be able to travel on trail by bike, to go east to Muncy, south to Washington D.C. — all over the map.

Completing this latest project moves that vision a step further and is sure to make our region even more attractive as a place to call home.

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