Project Spotlight: Jordan Creek Greenway Trail

Lehigh Valley residents who enjoy hiking and bicycling have been watching with great anticipation the progress of the Jordan Creek Greenway Trail. As outlined in a 2009 feasibility study prepared by Wildlands Conservancy, the finished project is envisioned to be a 53-mile-long active greenway to link the City of Allentown’s Jordan Meadows Park with the Appalachian Trail in northwestern Lehigh County.  Under the Conservancy’s direction various sections of an 11-mile segment of the trail to connect Allentown with the Trexler Nature Preserve are now in design or development.  Barry Isett & Associates has been selected to design and obtain approvals for a South Whitehall Township portion of the trail that runs from Covered Bridge Park west through four properties, under the Pennsylvania Turnpike and Route 309. 

The off road trail will typically be in the floodplain within 50 feet of the banks of the Jordan Creek.  Depending on topography, some sections of the trail will be an elevated boardwalk and a pedestrian bridge will cross the creek to connect to Covered Bridge Park.  A fence on the side of the trail opposite from the creek will protect private property and keep trail users within the easement.  Riparian buffer vegetation of native species will be planted around the trail to provide seasonal interest, stabilize the surface, and provide visual buffering from neighboring properties. 

The project involves meetings with the client and property owners and extensive coordination with permitting agencies including South Whitehall Township, the Pennsylvania Department of Natural Resources, the PA DEP, the US Army Corps of Engineers, Lehigh County Conservation District, PennDOT, and the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission. 

As a multi-discipline firm, BIA is ideally suited for this project.  In addition to BIA’s landscape architecture team, the project involves BIA’s Construction Services Department for cost estimating, our Code Department for review services, the traffic group for PennDOT and turnpike issues, our Environmental Department for soil and wetland issues, and Structural Engineering Department for bridge and boardwalk design.  BIA’s trail section is anticipated to be bid in 2013 and constructed for opening in early 2014.