$ 5 million in Pennsylvania funds OK for Lehigh Valley transportation projects

More than $ 5 million in state grants have gone to transportation projects in Lehigh and Northampton counties.

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Funding Authority on Friday approved $ 4.5 million in local multimodal transportation program grants and $ 510,866 in greenways, trails and recreation funding.

Statewide, the authority approved 166 Bill 89 Multimodal Transportation Fund projects in 54 counties, for total funding of over $ 84 million, as well as $ 10.4 million for 100 projects. Law 13 in 38 counties dealing with flood mitigation; Greenways, trails and recreation; Sewage installations; and the restoration and protection of watersheds.

Lehigh Valley lawmakers have touted some of the locally approved projects.

State Representative Jeanne McNeill, D-Lehigh, said $ 380,000 allocated to Hanover Township in Lehigh County will be used to improve the intersection of Catasauqua Road and Valley Plaza Center.

“Today’s announcement is great news for a large number of people who use public transportation in this area,” McNeill said in a statement Friday. “This investment will also provide vital improvements, including the installation of disabled-accessible sidewalks and ramps to better serve people with disabilities. “

McNeill also announced that Whitehall Township officials plan to allocate $ 42,500 in funding to make improvements to the main parking lot on the Ironton Rail Trail, while $ 42,500 will be used in Coplay to remove and update the existing playground equipment at Saylor Park and Tot Lot.

In Easton, State Representative Robert Freeman, D-Northampton, announced that state grants totaling nearly $ 1 million have been awarded for a multi-use trail project at Lafayette College and to renovate the Wilson Borough tennis courts.

The Lafayette Project aims to use its grant of $ 869,694 to create a multi-use trail to connect an existing parking lot along South College Drive at the east end of the campus to the middle of the historic staircase and continue to Bushkill Drive where it will connect with the popular Karl Stirner Arts Trail along Bushkill Creek. The trail will be built north of College Avenue, where there is a 150-foot vertical drop between Lafayette College and downtown Easton. It will establish a new connection point with the historic stairs that will run southwest towards Bushkill Drive. The trail will end at the bottom of the escarpment on Bushkill Drive, providing a direct link to the Karl Stirner Arts Trail and the area designated for the art exhibit. The college has committed an additional $ 372,726 to complete the project, Freeman said.

Wilson Borough will use $ 125,000 to rebuild four tennis courts at Meuser Park. The existing tennis courts are in poor condition and the fence is rusty, warped and bent. The reconstruction will include the demolition of the existing fence and tennis courts, the reconstruction of new tennis courts from the ground up, and the addition of new fences.

Senate Appropriation Committee Chairman Sen. Pat Browne, R-Lehigh, and State Representative Gary Day, R-Lehigh / Berks, defended $ 147,000 awarded to Upper Macungie Township for the installation of a roundabout on Grange Road to Lenape Trail. The adjacent Grange Road park is used for sporting activities and community events, increasing the need for safety and accessibility improvements as traffic continues to increase, lawmakers said; these upgrades will also accommodate future traffic flows from the proposed Upper Macungie Township Community Center, to be built at Grange Road Park.

Browne also joined State Representatives Mike Schlossberg and Pete Schweyer, both D-Lehigh, in announcing that Allentown has received $ 1.3 million to enable Serfass Development & Acquisitions to make improvements on along Martin Luther King Boulevard in the city. The funding will widen the road shoulders and install pedestrian sidewalks with curbs along MLK Boulevard and Fourth Street, they said. An old existing railway bridge will be removed and replaced. The proposed improvements will reduce congestion and improve traffic flow in anticipation of the redevelopment of the existing brownfield “Allentown Incinerator Site” into an industrial park.

Allentown also received $ 1.15 million to upgrade the traffic lights and systems along Hanover Street. The funding will improve seven existing traffic lights along the Hanover Street corridor and provide connectivity to the city’s central traffic light system. Equipment upgrades include new traffic light controllers, video detection systems, GPS emergency preemption, and new traffic and pedestrian signal heads. The project will also include improvements to pedestrian safety at the traffic-free intersection of Hanover Street and Linden Street.

Browne and State Representative Zach Mack, R-Lehigh / Northampton, announced that a grant of $ 105,488 has been awarded to Slatington for repairs to the Slate Heritage Trail. The grant will be used to rehabilitate and restore the trail that connects the Slatington Trail, which is part of the Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor, and links to the Walnutport Canal Towpath, Appalachian Trail and Lehigh Gap Nature Center . Specifically, the project will repair the trail surface, make drainage improvements, redevelop the trestle bridge, extend the safety fence, and repair the covered parking area of ​​the bridge.

“These public funds will have a huge impact on three much-needed transport security projects and will also provide better opportunities for parks and recreation throughout the Lehigh Valley,” Senator Lisa Boscola, D-Lehigh / Northampton, said of local funding. “By working with my parliamentary colleagues from both parties and both houses, the return of this funding to the valley has become a reality. “

The Multimodal Transportation Fund was created under Bill 89 to promote economic development and ensure that a safe and reliable transportation system is available throughout Pennsylvania, according to Boscola’s office. Funding for the Greenways, Trails and Recreation program uses revenue generated by Law 13 of 2012 which imposes impact fees on the state’s unconventional natural gas wells, its office said.

Can’t see the following list of Commonwealth Funding Authority grants approved Friday for the Lehigh Valley? Click here.

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Kurt Bresswein can be reached at [email protected].

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