PITTSTON, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Wednesday, State Senator John Yudichak announced his Luzerne County District will receive $2 million in funding from PennDOT’s transportation alternatives set-aside funding program.

The PennDOT program provides funding for transportation alternatives, like bike paths and hiking trails.
Infrastructure projects that make a community more accessible without needing a car.

“This funding will create even more ‘rails to trails’ and riverfront trails in our scenic and beautiful Northeastern Pennsylvania Communities,” said Yudichak.

The city of Pittston is getting $1 million from PennDOT’s Transportation Alternatives Set-Aside Funding program to extend and improve the city’s riverfront trail.

Joseph Burge uses the trail frequently telling Eyewitness News, “Every day, sure I do. Exercise. Good exercise, you know? Don’t get old.”

“It’s an expansion of the trail, some amenities on the trail, lighting, ADA accessibility at points on the trail,” said Pittston Mayor Michael Lombardo.

Improvements also include safety features like pedestrian signage.

This will provide alternative transportation routes like bicycle routes and pedestrian pathways to river areas, the main street, and local bus stops. The trail will extend to North Main Street the neighborhood where the city is already planning a $5 million streetscape project.

“There’s a boat launch there. This has kind of been part of that long-range plan to extend the trail system. We did the original phase of the trail some years back and now we’re looking to continue up into Duryea and then eventually make that linkage with the Lackawanna County, the Heritage Trail,” said Mayor Lombardo.

Lombardo says NEPA has yet to tap into the full potential of its trail systems. Connecting them is a big step forward. He says city leaders realize the importance of having outdoor activities, especially since the pandemic.

“That is huge implications in terms of tourism, economic viability, and connection. I think you’ll see a lot of businesses that can pop up potentially as it relates to that,” said Lombardo.

Many locals, like Burge, already enjoy the existing trail. He says he’s excited about the expansion and he hopes the improvements include routine maintenance.

“The trail is so nice down here. It just needs to be cleaned up a little bit more. That’s all, you know,” Burge said.

Hanover Township will also receive $1 million in funding to grade and surface the railroad alignment of the former Lehigh Valley Railroad between Mountain Top and Laurel Run Borough. The improvements also include drainage, signs, fencing and gates.