Upper Saucon Township supervisors awarded a $464,000 contract to a South Whitehall Township company March 11 to complete a rail-to-trail walking and biking path.
Phase 2 of the Upper Saucon Township section of the Saucon Rail Trail will extend two miles from Township Park to E. Landis Street—the municipal boundary with the borough of Coopersburg—along an inactive SEPTA rail line.
Semmel Excavating Inc., which was awarded the contract, offered the township three different options for work completion. The two other options only brought the trail as far as Passer Road for $225,000 and Southern Lehigh Living Memorial Park for $436,000.
In both of those cases, the township would have lost Lehigh County grant money, which is earmarked to pay for up to, but not more than, half of the project, said Township Manager Thomas F. Beil.
On Monday night, supervisors also voted to accept the $231,888 grant supplied through remaining funds in the county’s Green Future Fund Program.
The rail trail will be among the last six open space projects Lehigh County will fund, as county commissioners have decided to end the Green Future program, Beil said. However, Beil said county officials have assured him that the funds for the trail will be available if the project is done this year.
The township had budgeted $272,000 in 2013 to pay for project costs, Beil said.
Among the features of this portion of the trail will be that it will run through the parking lot of Lutron and alongside the municipal golf course.
The rail trail’s first phase, which was dedicated in June 2011, brings an existing trail from Hellertown and Lower Saucon Township to the township park. It cost $356,000 to build and was paid for primarily through development impact fees.