D&L to move out of Carbon County lot as project begins
Visitors who park in the Carbon County parking lot in Jim Thorpe will see some construction activity beginning Monday as the county begins its D&L Connector Trail enhancement project between the pedestrian bridge and the trail connector at the north end of the lot.
On Thursday, the county commissioners announced that the first part of the project will be clearing some trees for the project. J.D. Eckman Inc. of Atglen was awarded the contract for the project at a cost of $321,718.50, which will be covered under the Transportation Set Aside Grant.
They said the project is expected to take until around May 14 and take place Monday through Thursday.
The board posted on its Facebook page that anyone who utilizes the lot during the project “may experience parking reassignments, parking space modifications, and/or modified traffic flows for vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians.”
The trail enhancement project aims to take hikers and bikers out of the county parking lot and onto a safer and better constructed portion of the D&L Trail in that section in Jim Thorpe.
Some areas of the trail will still go through the parking lot where there is not enough space for it to be moved to the other side of the guide rail, while other areas will be separated by the guide rail and a picket fence on the outside of the river side of the lot.
The current trail leaves Lehigh Gorge State Park, travels up through the rail yard and through the county parking lot where it connects with the pedestrian bridge near Turkey Hill.
Last year, when the commissioners released artist renderings of the south end of the trail connector, Commissioner Rocky Ahner said approximately eight parking spots will be lost in the project and additional spots will be turned sideways to provide enough room for the trail.
In addition, the south connector at the pedestrian bridge will include a rest area for those hiking and biking.
Carbon County began looking at this move in April 2016 under the former board of commissioners, which consisted of current Commissioners’ Chairman Wayne Nothstein, as well as former Commissioners William O’Gurek and Thomas J. Gerhard.
At that time, the county applied for a $10,000 Pocono Forest and Waters Conservation Landscape mini-grant to complete a study of the area net to the parking lot.
Commissioners hired Hanover Engineering Associates at a cost of $21,290 to do a master site plan, which was completed in July 2017.
In 2018, the commissioners hired Hanover Engineering Associates of Allentown for professional services relating to the design of the connector trail through the parking lot at a cost of $53,800 plus expenses.
The county also received a $403,986 Transportation Alternatives Set Aside grant from the state.
In November 2019, the former board of commissioners voted to execute the grant and move forward with the project.