Rail trail mile markers ready to go; still need a bridge

By on June 7, 2018

Just months from now you’ll be able to hike or bike the entire eight miles of the Warwick to Ephrata Rail Trail, (WERT) without leaving the trail to cross the Cocalico Creek. You’ll also be able to measure your travels with some handsome mile markers designed by Lititz resident Dave Bucher, a handy guy with computer graphics skills as well as a columnist for the Lititz Record Express.

The markers were approved at the April WERT committee meeting. This committee is composed of elected and appointed officials from each of the five municipalities through which the mostly-completed trail runs. The municipalities include Warwick and Ephrata townships, plus the boroughs of Akron, Ephrata and Lititz. Each municipality also appoints a citizen representative, like Bucher, to the committee.

The committee meets about six times a year to discuss updates on the trail, which starts across Broad Street from the Lititz Springs Park and ends, for now, across from the Whistle Stop Plaza on Main Street in Ephrata. The trail is mostly completed, with the exception of a pedestrian pathway across a former railroad bridge that spans the Cocalico Creek. The creek forms the boundary between Warwick and Ephrata Townships a few hundred yards beyond the point where the trail crosses Millway Road just west of the Akron borough line.

The bridge work will cost some $350,000, with about half the money coming from a grant provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. The two townships will split the remainder of the cost.

Warwick Township Manager Dan Zimmerman said at the April meeting that he expects preliminary design work on the bridge will be finished sometime in May. He expects bid requests to go out to area contractors in June, with a contract awarded in July. Barring complications, mostly weather related, Zimmerman expects the bridge to be completed before the end of this year.

Dick Wanner is a staff writer and photographer, and former editor-in-chief (1972-75), for the Record Express. He welcomes reader feedback at rwanner.eph@lnpnews.com.

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