Riverside Drive Awarded $21 Million RAISE Grant
Senator Bob Casey announced on Wednesday morning that the Riverside Drive Project in Allentown, Pennsylvania, was awarded a $21,158,854 Rebuilding American Infrastructure With Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) Grant to construct a new three-lane roadway from Allentown into Whitehall Township.
The project was first announced in 2015 by The Waterfront Development Company after they acquired three-and-a-half miles of railroad extending from Union Street in Allentown to Race Street in Whitehall Township. Since its acquisition, The Waterfront has worked with a team of engineers to design and implement a new three-land roadway and adjacent pedestrian path that will ease traffic along the adjacent Front Street Corridor, increase pedestrian safety, connect the city’s economic centers, and unite the up-and-coming River Wards district.
“Riverside Drive will serve as the backbone of Allentown’s up-and-coming district: the roadway will connect Hamilton Street to the active and proposed projects along the Lehigh River and ultimately unite the City of Allentown with Whitehall Township. We are proud to have worked as part of a phenomenal Public-Private Partnership to secure this grant and introduce an exceptional asset in the heart of the Lehigh Valley.” – Zachary J. Jaindl
The project is designed in two phases: Phase 01 of the Riverside Drive project extends from Hamilton Street to Furnace Street in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Work on Phase 01 has commenced in May 2021 and is substantially complete. Phase 02 of the project will extend from Furnace Street north into Whitehall Township. With the funding available through the announced RAISE Grant, Phase 02 can commence.
The award of the RAISE Grant was made possible through a regional Private-Public Partnership, spearheaded by Lehigh Valley Planning Commission (LVCP). The Waterfront Development Company contributed approximately $20 million of match dollars through the dedication of the rail land and economic investment into their signature project, The Waterfront. Other partners included Lehigh County, the City of Allentown, Whitehall Township, LANta, the D&L Trail, and Wildlands, along with dozens of other businesses, government, and community partners.
The new street’s adjacent walking and biking pathway will integrate into the 165-mile Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor, along with the Jordan Creek Greenway Trail, Northern Lehigh Rail Trail, Lehigh River Water Trail, Slate-Heritage Trail, the Appalachian Trail, and the 911 Memorial Trail.
“When we designed Phase 01 of Riverside Drive, we did so to ease traffic concerns throughout the up-and-coming district and its adjacent neighborhoods. With the integration of the urban trails, we can provide a valuable resource and exceptional recreational amenity to the City of Allentown and the Lehigh Valley. These health-driven assets, such as integrating with the D&L Trail and 911 Memorial Trail, are invaluable foundations of modern society. Working with the Public-Private Partnership, we can carry these design elements and features even further, to introduce a stunning amenity and improve a range of Lehigh Valley communities.” – Mark W. Jaindl