With major work completed along Solanco's western stretch of the Enola Low Grade Rail Trail, municipal officials are now concentrating on the section between Quarryville and the Chester County line.
Fixing a soggy stretch of the trail through Bart Township is part of the new project, said Ray Marvin.
"We're in the process of doing the design," he said. "We had the field meetings and walked the trail. Now we're coming up with a plan for the best way to control the water."
Marvin, chairman of the township's board of supervisors, has been leading the project to improve the trail through Eden, Bart, and Sadsbury townships.
Water will not drain from a deep cut from Hollow Rd. east to a section between Mt. Pleasant Rd. and Lamparter Rd. There is no natural drainage for that section, Marvin said. Water has been ponding in the area since Conrail stopped maintaining the rail line in the mid-1980s.
While improvements may limit the drainage problem, Bart will probably use another solution to make the trail passable.
"We're going to move the trail up to the north side of the property," Marvin said. "Walkers will come up [from the former rail bed] just east of Hollow Rd. and go back down [to the former rail bed] just east of Meetinghouse Run [a tiny tributary to the West Branch of the Octoraro Creek]. Instead of walking the center line of the trail, people will be going up to the north side."
Moving the trail up hill is one part of the solution. The other is to reduce drainage from neighboring fields.
To do that, Bart first has to determine the trail's property lines.
"The trail is irregular. Some areas are wider than others, because some property owners were willing to sell more land when the railroad went through," Marvin said.
Once those surveys are completed, the township can determine if neighboring farmers have been encroaching onto trail property.
"We think some of them are doing that, and having the land tilled instead of remaining in woods doesn't help the drainage problem," the supervisor said. "We need to re-create a natural buffer to fix the drainage problem."
To make sure neighboring property owners understand what's going on, each has been invited to the township's June 5 public meeting.
The funding is coming from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and an alternative transportation grant passed through Lancaster County.
Eden doesn't have any major trail improvements scheduled this year.
“We did plant some trees along the trail, but that's all we're going to do this year," Eden roadmaster Mark Rudy said recently.
Nor does Providence Township have significant projects planned for 2019.
"We will be spraying the surface to keep the weeds down and the park committee is building a small kiosk at the Sigman Rd. crossing," Providence Township manager Vicki Eldridge said.
Meanwhile, work on the trail's eastern stretch is still a year or so away.
"We probably won't start construction until late 2020 or even 2021. It depends on what the design shows," Marvin said.