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EAST BRADFORD — A trail project which began 10 years ago is finally complete in East Bradford Township.
The township recently completed the third phase of the multi-use Brandywine Trail and the township supervisors held a networking event with officials and representatives to discuss the end of the project and plans for new regional projects.
“It is our great pleasure to be here to join in the celebration of the decade of progress on the Brandywine Trail,” said County Commissioner Terence Farrell. “As county commissioners, we recognize the importance of initiatives such as this — of projects that promote the protection of open space and the development of trails.”
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The Brandywine Trail provides new road safety, giving an alternate route for pedestrians and cyclists.
“It completes a two-and-a-half mile stretch of what we call the Brandywine Trail,” said Vince Pompo, chair of East Bradford’s board of supervisors. “This little segment, which is only 750 feet, adds a safe access off of Skelp Level Road and also added a third parking area.”
It also serves as a connector between commerce centers.
“In total, Chester County has more than 300 miles of surface trails with plans and construction of more and more miles every year,” Farrell said. “The Brandywine Trail is a key corridor in linking landscapes, Chester County’s open space plan and one of the main goals of the Brandywine Trail project is to realign a portion of Pennsylvania’s bicycle route L onto this multi-use trail.”
Building the trails also secures preservation of the land, which Chester County has been working hard to do.
“At the end of 2014, Chester County has recorded more than 127,000 acres of preserved land — that’s more than 1/4 of the county,” said County Commissioner Michelle Kichline. “East Bradford has been a real leader in the protection of open space and trail development.”
In attendance to celebrate the trail’s finish were state Sen. Andy Dinniman, state Rep. Chris Ross and Cody Jones from Congressman Ryan Costello’s office.
“It is good to celebrate this trail, but equally important to celebrate East Bradford Township because this township has been an absolute model in this county about what you can do with open space and with historic preservation and with your natural resources,” Dinniman said.
Ross echoed Dinniman’s sentiments and credited everyone involved for helping to create something which can be enjoyed by future generations.
“Your children, your grandchildren and your great-grandchildren yet to come thank you for the work that you’ve done so far and the work that you’re engaging in,” he said.
Also part of the event was to bring awareness to upcoming projects in the county.
Several of those have to do with more trails in the area.
“The good is that this isn’t the end,” said County Commissioner Kathi Cozzone. “There are many plans underway in Chester County, like plans to establish Downingtown as a trail hub. For instance, our county planning commission and Brandywine Conservancy are continuing the study to extend the Struble Trail further north toward Honey Brook and the extension of the Chester Valley Trail from Exton to Downingtown begins in July.”
Even the Brandywine Trail is planned to extend further south to Chadds Ford.
But there are also plans for road construction as well from PennDOT, who had representatives in attendance.
“As part of today’s networking event, PennDOT is showing our plan for a bridge replacement on Route 322 over the east branch of the Brandywine River,” said Leslie Richards, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Transportation secretary. “The project right now is in its preliminary engineering construction and is several years off, but we’re discussing and figuring out what’s best for the community. The design includes a 4-foot wider shoulder — a total of 12 feet instead of 8 feet — to accommodate bicyclists and pedestrians.”
The county plans to continue its work toward preserving land and building more trails for the community to take advantage of.
“This township deserves the credit,” Dinniman said. “It’s a good day in Chester County when we can preserve another acre of open space or another mile of trail.”