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Updates: Pittsburgh to Washington DC Bike Trail one step closer to completion

Riverton Bridge Bike/Ped Bridge connecting Duquesne to McKeesport now open.  Onoroto says Pittsburgh to DC trail to be completed by 11/11/11

riverton

Photo by Flickr user Kordite

One of the most treacherous parts of riding from the city to the Great Allegheny Passage in McKeesport has been eliminated.  The Riverton Bridge, a bike/ped bridge connecting the town of Duquesne to McKeesport, is now open for business.  A new 60-ft tunnel that carries the path was also opened up.  From McKeesport, cyclists can pick up the Youghiogheny River  Trail that connects to Washington DC, an alignment known as the Great Allegheny Passage, or GAP.

Previously, to get from Pittsburgh to the trail, cyclists had to ride Rt 837 the whole way to the McKeesport Duquesne Bridge, one of the most dangerous parts of 837.   Between Kennywood and the bridge is a fast moving, construction and debris filled highway-like ride.  Cyclists can now turn into Duquesne (just past Kennywood), ride along a residential street to Grant St, then access the newest section of the trail at the bottom of the hill.

intersection

View of Grant St in Downtown Duquesne.  The new trail can be accessed at the bottom of this hill, just past the light.

Another major development announced this weekend was a deal that County Executive Dan Onoroto struck with the Norfolk Southern Railway that will complete another 2.5 miles of the trail by next summer, connecting Duquesne to Homestead’s Waterfront shopping mall.

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, “the agreement with Norfolk Southern makes possible construction of two bicycle-pedestrian bridges: one connecting the RIDC section of the trail to the former U.S. Steel coke gas pipeline area behind Kennywood, by crossing Norfolk Southern’s Port Perry rail yard; and another over Norfolk Southern tracks to connect the trail to a portion of the county’s Carrie Furnace site on the south side of the Monongahela River in Whitaker.”

Sandcastle, the waterpark that has been the major barrier in completing the trail, is now the final section where a deal needs to be worked out.  Less than one mile through Sandcastle’s parking lot is all that stands in the way of completing the trail.  According to another Post-Gazette article, “Onorato was confident enough of a deal with the water park’s owners, Parques Reunidos of Madrid, Spain, that he set a target date for completing the last section of the trail known as the Great Allegheny Passage — Nov. 11, 2011, or 11/11/11.”

Linda McKenna Boxx, president of the Allegheny Trail Alliance, who, along with hundreds of volunteers, has worked for more than three decades on the project and said, “that’s our rallying cry now.”


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