York County Heritage Rail Trail Design

Multiple Counties, PA and MD

Project Background:

The Heritage Rail Trail County Park multi-use path stretches 26 miles from the Pennsylvania-Maryland border to John C. Rudy County Park north of York City. 

C.S. Davidson has been involved with the design of the park since 1990, just after York County purchased the rail line and adjacent property for $1.  

Before Rehabilitation:

The former railroad bed on which the trail is built was used until 1972, when Hurricane Agnes destroyed several railroad bridges. 

Since it wasn’t financially feasible to rebuild the bridges, the rail line sat dormant and became an eyesore and attracted criminal elements.  

After Rehabilitation:

Soon after the county purchase the railroad property, C.S. Davidson became the primary engineer for most York County Rail Trail Authority projects. 

The rail trail started near the state line and went north. It was slow going to start since there was no funding for the project and volunteers were enlisted for some of the labor. But once it built some steam, grants became available and were secured, and the rail trail started to take shape. 

Now, the Heritage Rail Trail County Park is the crown jewel of York County parks, connecting the city to serene areas of the county. 

York County heritage rail trail

Services Provided:

C.S. Davidson touched the design of every portion of the Heritage Rail Trail County Park, including field surveys and complex sewer design. C.S. Davidson offered even greater value when engineers realized they could extend the park along Codorus Creek thanks to an embankment system along Codorus Creek. When the project was at a standstill, with the team unsure where the money would come from, C.S. Davidson engineers recognized there was money available for Codorus Creek for water quality improvements. The company worked with the PennVEST state loan program to secure the funding and was successful since the trail would act as a filter for water running off roads and other surfaces into the creek. The team was able to secure a grant instead of a loan. PennVEST evaluates funding recipients based on their ability to pay back the loan, and since the Rail Trail Authority does not charge for the use of the trail and has no revenue source, PennVEST gave them the grant. 

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