The official groundbreaking for the Upper Bucks Rail Trail project was held on August 21st in Richland Township.
The Rail Trail
The Upper Bucks Rail Trail project has been planned for almost a decade. The project connects to the Saucon Rail Trail in Lehigh County to the north and Richland Township to the south and creates 3 miles of paved shared use trail that will run along an unused railbed owned by Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority (SEPTA). Many organizations joined together over the years to envision, plan and design the project. These organizations include the Bucks County Commissioners, Bucks County Planning Commission, SEPTA, Springfield and Richland Townships, Pennsylvania Environmental Council, Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, Appalachian Mountain Club, Bike Bucks County, and others. Boucher and James, Inc. is the engineering firm working with the County to develop the construction plans.
Rail trail development will have a positive impact on the region’s recreation resources. The rail trail will connect to existing trail and sidewalk that are part of the Pennsylvania Highlands Trail Network (PHTN), a regional trail project that connects south to Quakertown from the Saucon Rail Trail.The PHTN follows sidewalks through Quakertown, and on the south side of Quakertown, trail users can continue along another two miles of connected trail in Richland Township. Except for road crossings, trail users will soon be able to travel from Hellertown to Quakertown nearly completely separated from car travel. The trail system will also become part of The Circuit. A map showing these trail connections can be viewed here.
Although the day was hot and muggy, state representatives, county commissioners, township officials, staff of the various partner organizations and residents gathered alongside the rail bed at the Richland Township Fire and Rescue Station on Shelly Road to celebrate the culmination of years of trail planning efforts. Officials spoke of the importance that the Upper Bucks Rail project will have in providing recreation resources for the region, connecting municipalities together with pedestrian and bicycle facilities and acting as an economic driver for the community.
Media coverage of the groundbreaking is provided below.