The Bucks County Commissioners and the Bucks County Planning Commission along with various local officials broke ground for the long-anticipated Upper Bucks Rail Trail Wednesday outside Richland Township Fire & Rescue near Rt. 309 north of Quakertown.
The 12-foot-wide crushed stone, multi-use trail will extend 3.6 miles from Veterans Memorial Park on E. Pumping Station Road in Richland Township to the Saucon Rail Trail terminus in Coopersburg, Lehigh County, when it’s completed next summer.
Design and engineering work has been completed, and construction will begin this fall.
Like the Saucon Rail Trail–which opened in 2011–the path will be built atop SEPTA’s former Bethlehem Branch, which ceased operations in the early 1980s. A 30-year lease agreement between SEPTA, Richland and Springfield townships has already been signed.
Via the Saucon Rail Trail, the Upper Bucks Rail Trail will eventually be a connection between Quakertown, Bethlehem and beyond, as part of the Appalachian Mountain Club’s Pennsylvania Highlands Regional Trails Network.
“This is a great thing for the area,” said Saucon Rail Trail Oversight Commission member and Saucon Valley Bikes owner Steve LaBrake, who attended the groundbreaking.
A cooperative effort between Bucks County, Richland and Springfield townships, the $1.8 million Upper Bucks Rail Trail project is being funded entirely with money from PennDOT’s Act 13 Marcellus Legacy Fund.
Construction of the trail is expected to begin this fall.