Construction began in May 2015 on the Chester Creek Trail in Middletown and Aston Townships.
Phase 1 of the Chester Creek Trail is under construction more than twenty years after its initial conception. The late Mike Fusco, a resident of Aston Township, proposed the idea of a rail trail on the inactive Chester Creek Branch railroad line to provide a scenic way to commute to work, get exercise, and contemplate nature.
Mike approached County Council and the Planning Department for assistance with his dream. The County, under former Council Chairman Andrew Reilly, lent its support and provided funding for a feasibility study. The Planning Department, under late Director John Pickett’s support and direction, successfully applied for engineering and construction funding. Planning Department staff, supervised Wilson Consulting Group to design the trail and comply with federal, state, and local requirements.
The County also successfully negotiated with SEPTA, the owner of the right-of-way, for a lease to build the trail. The Friends of the Chester Creek Branch, a non-profit organization, will be maintaining phase 1 of the trail after it is completed.
Phase 1 is predominantly in Middletown Township with a short section in Aston Township, stretching 2.8 miles from near Lenni Road to near Creek Road. Construction, which began in May 2015, is scheduled for approximately 18 months and will conclude in late Fall of 2016.
Part of the project includes the installation of a box culvert which will allow the trail to go under Knowlton Road. This new box culvert will be in close proximity to a trailhead parking lot to be constructed during this phase. The construction cost is about $6.5 million. J.D. Eckman, Inc. of Atglen, PA was awarded the construction contract as the lowest qualified bid. In addition to building and paving the trail, several bridges will be rehabilitated and re-decked and several hundred feet of damaged stream bank washout areas will be restored.