ALLENTOWN, Pa. - The stretch of riverfront along the Lehigh River is about to transform.

It's taken years to get here, but a group that gathered by the property Friday said, it's all going to be worth it.

"It's going to be an incredible project," begins U.S. Deputy Secretary of Transportation Polly Trottenberg.

Trottenberg was there, along with other government and local officials, to get a tour of the three-and-a-half mile stretch of railroad that will complete the D&L Trail here in the Lehigh Valley. The trail is 165 miles, running along the Delaware and Lehigh Rivers.

The idea to have a waterfront project here was just an idea for years - but now, thanks to persistence from local leaders and developers, and a brand new $21-million grant from the government, this project is about to flow into reality.

"I hope you're very proud of yourselves," Trottenberg said to the crowd. "This is a tremendous project and you out competed a lot of other projects across the country. There's a lot of fierce competition for RAISE funds, and we are thrilled to be in partnership with you."

Officials say this is the largest public-private partnership to date in the region, totaling more than $55 million once it's completed.

Trottenberg says, it's the kind of project America needs, and it's right here in the Lehigh Valley.

"There is so much community, vision, partnership. It is the kind of project that we're looking for, that is multi-modal, that will connect people to jobs and opportunity and recreation," she says.

Now, the work begins.

Leaders say, get ready for transformation that you'll begin to see within a year.

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