The Shippensburg section of the Cumberland Valley Rails-to-Trails pathway will finish its last major hurdle toward completion with the installation of a walking bridge over Shippensburg’s Fogelsonger Road.
During the bridge’s installation, Fogelsonger Road was closed from Shippensburg University towards Britton Road’s railroad bridge until Friday. As a result, campus traffic was rerouted along Newburg Road to reach the Burd Run Drive entrance.
“Everyone is welcome to watch the bridge go in,” said Allen Dieterich-Ward, member of the Cumberland Valley Rails-to-Trails Council (CVRTC). “We are coordinating with campus police to keep everyone safe.”
The bridge is 130 feet long and 10 feet wide, weighing more than 25 tons. It made up $325,000 of the $900,000 cost of extending the CVRT. The money to build the trail has come almost entirely from state grants, while maintenance costs are covered by charity runs and other events.
The project was more expensive because the path will be paved in order to simplify campus maintenance for Shippensburg University, according to Dieterich-Ward.
The official ribbon cutting ceremony for the bridge and new trail section will be held April 23 during Shippensburg’s annual Race, Run, Ride & Ramble trail festival.
Dieterich-Ward works with Leslie Folmer Clinton, vice president of SU’s External and University Relations, and Brittany Martin, interim assistant director for SU’s Student Group Services & Leadership Development, to raise awareness of the trail.
Dieterich-Ward said SU faculty members, administrators and students have exhibited great enthusiasm for the trail. The university’s cross-country team and community members already make use of the partially completed Shippensburg section along with community members who walk the distance between campus and downtown. The partially-completed trail already sees more than 60,000 visitors a year and brings more than $450,000 to the area, according to Dieterich-Ward.
Teachers and Student Group Services are already planning to utilize the trail for upcoming classes and events. For instance, the Rotary Club will also be building a trailhead building with space for exhibits over the summer.
“We actually deferred this part of the trail as long as we could,” said Jerry Angulo, president of the CVRTC of the walking bridge’s installation. “It was a big job getting it all done, getting the townships and land owners on board.”
The CVRTC was founded in 1991 as a non-profit and has spent the past 19 years developing the old Cumberland Valley Railroad into a walking, biking and horseback riding trail between Newville and Shippensburg and is recognized as a national recreation trail.
CVRTC purchased another section of the abandoned railway in 2014 and plans to extend the trail into Carlisle. Before renovations to the railway can begin, two hurdles must be overcome. The construction of a $1 million pathway stretch that includes a bridge over Big Spring Road and an underpass below Centerville Road will require major committee funding. Another hurdle will be a series of negotiations between the CVRTC and previous owners of the old track.
Another walking bridge will be installed in Newville Wednesday if the weather permits
Anyone with additional questions about the Cumberland Valley Rails-to-Trails may contact Dieterich-Ward at firstname.lastname@example.org or Garret Stahlman at email@example.com.