Harrisburg – The Federal Highway Administration, or FHWA, has awarded grants totaling nearly $5 million to three scenic byway projects in Pennsylvania as part of a national program to enhance the livability of communities.
“We welcome this investment in Pennsylvania’s quality of life, to supplement our long-standing program to develop scenic byways for the benefit of the traveling public and local residents,” said PennDOT Secretary Barry J. Schoch, P.E.
FHWA recently announced the Pennsylvania awards as being among 94 projects in 39 states to receive a total of $40.7 million.
One of the projects, the Laurel Highlands Falls Area Visitors Center in Ohiopyle State Park, was sponsored by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
The visitors center is to receive $4 million in federal funds toward the overall project cost of $6.8 million. Project sponsors are responsible for providing the balance of the costs.
“This is a key project of the regional Conservation Landscape Initiative, a strategy for natural resource stewardship and community revitalization,” DCNR acting Secretary Richard Allan said. “The new welcome center at Ohiopyle State Park will teach people about the region’s natural, historic and recreation assets and point them to nationally significant trails, challenging whitewater, fishing and other outdoor pursuits.”
Ohiopyle State Park, located along the Laurel Highlands Scenic Byway and adjacent to the Historic National Road, is the portal to the region with more than 1.5 million visitors annually, Allan added.
The other Pennsylvania projects to receive federal funds are:
- Casey Byway pedestrian and bike trail improvement, Archbald, Lackawanna County, $831,825 in federal money toward the overall project cost of $1 million. The project, which will add a one-mile section of bikeway to the Lackawanna River Heritage Trail along the Casey Byway, is sponsored by the Lackawanna Heritage Valley Authority; and
- Brandywine Valley Scenic Byway bike and pedestrian trail, $160,000 in federal money toward the overall project cost of $200,000. The project, which will develop a 2.5-mile bikeway along the Brandywine Valley Scenic Byway, was sponsored by the Brandywine Valley Scenic Byway Commission.
PennDOT reviews and submits the projects to FHWA, which takes into consideration how the projects add to a community’s quality of life and enhance travelers’ experience of the scenic byways.
“Pennsylvania started its scenic byway program in 2001 and we now have 17 state-designated scenic byways that offer an appealing visual and, in many cases, valuable learning opportunity for travelers in the state,” Schoch said.
“These new improvements made possible by the FHWA grants will mean an even richer experience for both residents and visitors.”
Learn more about Pennsylvania’s scenic byways online at www.visitpa.com/scenic-byways.