Archbald, Lackawanna County - After years of planning, ground was officially broken Monday afternoon for a new section of the Lackawanna River Heritage Trail.
The new trail section will span three miles from Delaware Street in Jermyn south to the Laurel Street Trailhead in Archbald.
At least three or four times a week, Diana Ligi makes the drive from Jermyn to Archbald to use an existing portion of the trail, so she is thrilled about the expansion.
"The river is beautiful. The leaves are gorgeous at this time of the season," Ligi said. "We've seen birds. We've seen ducks, a lot of wildlife out here."
The project is something that a lot of people have been looking forward to.
"People that live in towns all along this, they could leave their house and walk to it in a lot of cases," Tom Marra of Eynon said. "Anybody who lives through here, you wouldn't even have to drive like we have to drive a couple miles."
Tom Marra and his wife Joan walk on the current sections of the trail five days a week.
"It makes our community closer because you see a lot of people that we know," Joan Marra said. "I just met a new man walking today. It's nice because you get to meet new people and you get to feel good about yourself."
When finished, the new trail section will complete an eight mile section that links eight communities in Lackawanna County's mid-valley.
"The first mile of this trail is actually going through the streets of Archbald and improving the sidewalks, adding some parking, some safety crossings. You'll see a lot of people who live up here use this trail on a daily basis," Lackawanna Heritage Valley Executive Director Natalie Gelb said.
The new trail section is expected to cost just under $2.7 million. That will be paid for with federal and state money.