But, how quickly bicycling and trail access–proposed primarily for State Road–could become a reality is dependent upon the estimated costs and funding availability associated with linking Bensalem to the over-arching East Coast Greenway, a network of 3,000 miles of community trails from Maine to Florida.
Officials from the Pennsylvania Environmental Council hosted a meeting at The Playmasters in Bensalem recently to share renderings depicting proposed trail connections planned in conjunction with reforestation, erosion control and wetland and habitat creation at Neshaminy State Park.
John Federico of Urban Engineers Inc., said a feasibility study is expected to conclude by year's end. Once complete it will determine the projected costs of the trail addition and associated work at the adjacent park.
From there, he said it could take one to two years to secure funding and another one to two years for construction.
"That would all be best case scenario," he said. "It could be longer."
Developing the so-called Bensalem Greenway has been in the works for some time. The original plan–which proposed having trails running through Bensalem and Neshaminy State Park–with a $2 million to $3.5 million price tag, was deemed too costly, Federico said.
Now, officials are back at the drawing board, revamping plans and looking to use the existing State Road bridge as a pathway to Croydon, he said.
"It doesn't connect to either side," Federico said. "It ends."
Plans call for the widening of the State Road embankment and building a two-way bike path. Neshaminy State Park would add an asphalt path if the project moves forward, he said.
Susan Myerov of the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, the entity that coordinates with local, regional and state governments and organizations to move the Bensalem Greenway as well as the Greater Philadelphia Regional Trail Network forward, said the council is "always looking for grants" to fund projects and fill "gaps."
"There are a number of gaps in the greenway through Pennsylvania," Myerov said, adding that the council and other regional partners have been "evaluating alternatives" to fill gaps where possible. "One area is along portions of Lower Bucks where we explored alternatives to crossing over the Neshaminy Creek."
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