Lancaster projects create long-awaited trails connecting city with Eastern County

November 2022

C.S. Davidson recently finished the $1 million restoration of a historic bridge which crosses the Conestoga River to provide a critical section of trail to connect the City with the Greater Lancaster Heritage Pathway, also known as the Goat Path, and the proposed Northeast Greenway.

C.S. Davidson and JD Eckman, the contractor, finished the rehab of the 110-year-old Waterworks Bridge in 2021 after working on it for two years. The City wanted to convert the existing bridge and reuse it as a pedestrian bridge, but it had deteriorated badly. There were rust holes and other damage on the main elements, which required careful repair and repainting.

C.S. Davidson engineers got to work detailing the repairs and were able to retain the rivet’s aesthetics with button-head bolts since it is such a rare style of bridge to see these days.

Once that project was complete, C.S. Davidson and Wexcon, Inc, another contractor, began a $2.5 million project to replace the Eden Manor sewer interceptor, which runs from the Eden Manor residential development through the Conestoga Pines Park along the river all the way to the Conestoga Creek Viaduct/Amtrak Bridge.

That sewer line will be a vital part of the design for new trails in the area. Once the sewer line was dug, it provided a natural path which the new trails along the river could easily follow.

Conquering complexity and embracing collaboration

C.S. Davidson was initially hired for this project to relocate the iconic Armstrong truss bridge, which was removed from the Dillersville Railyard in 2015. No longer in use by Armstrong or F&M College, the bridge was a liability. After public outcry to save the bridge, Lancaster officials decided to save it and brought on C.S. Davidson. The City’s original vision was to reconstruct the Armstrong truss over the Conestoga River in their Conestoga Pines Park.

The company performed a complex structural analysis of the bridge and provided recommendations on how to repair it. But in the end, the City decided the preservation project was too expensive, and the structure remains in storage for future use. Instead, the Waterworks Bridge rehab project became the focus. Once that renovation was finished, the company switched gears to fix the sewer system.

The design for the sewer project was more complex than a typical sewer. More than 3,200 feet of failing 8-inch pipe and manholes were replaced. The project was urgent since sewage backflow was regularly occurring. The system was also very deep in the ground, and the site was full of large rocks and a spiderweb of existing utilities.

After the design work was done and the new pipe was laid, the trail system, which will follow the same path as the pipe, was already partially designed. An added benefit is that the paved trail will run from manhole to manhole, offering easy access to the infrastructure below the ground.

Now, Ben Craddock, a former C.S. Davidson employee who left to start his own company, Lancaster Civil, will perform additional site surveys before his company finalizes the trails.

“We’re always excited for the opportunity to collaborate with colleagues whose work we know and trust,” said Sondra Laub, C.S. Davidson senior project manager who worked on the sewer and Waterworks projects. “We recognized that we didn’t need to control all aspects of the project and that Ben would be able to focus all his attention on the trails, so this collaboration was the best path forward.”

Looking forward to the future

The City of Lancaster has received a grant to build a boardwalk above the Conestoga River to further connect the area. That boardwalk will help funnel people across the bridge and up to a nearby grassy area where there could be a large lawn or amphitheater.

“We’re proud to have really had an impact on this section of the Northeast Greenway Trail,” Laub added. “We’re excited to help make the city and this part of Lancaster County more bikeable.”