Small but Mighty: Morrisville connector closes crucial trail gap

A ribbon cutting ceremony on Wednesday celebrated the completion of the 0.1-mile Bridge Street Crossing along the Delaware & Lehigh Trail in Morrisville. Though a short distance, the project closes one of Pennsylvania’s top 10 trail gaps, providing 75 miles of uninterrupted multiuse trail from Allentown to Bristol. It also forges a crucial link in the Circuit Trails, a regional trail network totaling more than 400 miles.

The new Bridge Street Crossing in Morrisville consists of two ramps and a street crossing, making what used to be an impassable bridge abutment along Bridge Street an ADA-accessible connection along the D&L Trail.

“What may appear to be a small road crossing, in reality, is a major connector between nine miles of towpath trail south to Bristol and 50 miles north to Easton along the Delaware Canal,” Claire W. Sadler, executive director of the Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor (DLNHC), said in a press release. “This crossing not only fills a gap in the trail network but connects trail users to businesses along Bridge Street—the results of which we’re already seeing through two new Trail Friendly Businesses that are eager to greet visitors.”

The new segment consists of two ramps and a street crossing, making what used to be an impassable bridge abutment along Bridge Street an ADA-accessible connection along the D&L Trail.

Leaders from the Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC),  DLNHC, Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), the Borough of Morrisville, Bucks County, Delaware Canal State Park, Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC), PennDOT, the Circuit Trails, East Coast Greenway Alliance, and Loftus Construction attended the ribbon cutting ceremony.

“Closing this gap is a major win for the community and the connectivity for the region; more than 75 miles of uninterrupted trail is a game changer for recreation and local transportation enhancing the experience of people using the trails for a multitude of reasons,” said PEC’s Patrick Starr, who also chairs the Circuit Trails Coalition steering committee. “The Circuit Trails Coalition has a goal of completing 500 miles of trails in the region by 2025, and with less than two years left to make that a reality, closing more gaps like this must be a priority at both the local and state level.”

PEC Executive Vice President Patrick Starr speaks at a ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Bridge Street Crossing in Morrisville.

The connector project began back in 2012, with support from DCNR, the William Penn Foundation, DLNHC and DVRPC. Construction funding came from PennDOT Transportation Congestion Mitigation Air Quality (CMAQ) Program funds, which were earmarked as a result of advocacy by the Circuit Trails Coalition in 2015.

“This project is a testament to the power of partnerships and the value trails add in communities across the Commonwealth,” said DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn. “We thank Morrisville for prioritizing trails and seeing the positive impact they provide to the borough and its businesses. This helps DCNR close one of our Top 10 Trail Gaps and will connect communities, create jobs, and give more people the chance to enjoy the outdoors.”

The D&L Trail currently spans 141 miles through Bucks, Lehigh, Northampton, Carbon, and Luzerne counties. Once construction is complete to extend the trail to 165 miles, the D&L will surpass the Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) as Pennsylvania’s longest multiuse trail. Trail users generate more than $250 million annually for local and state economies, and programming like Get Your Tail on the Trail promotes wellness and builds community around outdoor recreation. For more information on the D&L, to plan your trip, or to support the corridor, visit