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Crossing Monongahela: Best/safest bridge? West Elizabeth or Clairton?

Hi all, I'm doing a 10+ day trip east to west from the DC area to Indiana. I'm going to utilize the CO/GAP and then cut over to the Montour but for time purposes am not planning on riding in to the heart of Pittsburgh.  My plan is to get off the GAP and then cross the Monon. but I'm unable to tell from photos or internet research if the Route 51 bridge at West Elizabeth is a safe option? Or if the smaller Clairton/Glassport Bridge in Clairton is preferable.  Clairton is only an additional 3-4 miles so obviously not the end of the world but if Route 51 bridge is safe that would be my preference.  Any one have any experience or suggestions on this two options? Thanks all for the suggestions.  
2021-04-27 09:20:56
Hello.  I'd recommend The Clairton-Glassport Bridge. The trail splits at the Boston-Versailles Bridge.  You can stay on the SW side of the Yough  and take the DEad man's Hollow route.  It's a little odd there when the trail ends and you have to take River Ridge  Rd, then River Rd/Liberty Way into Glassport.  Then there is an established, marked bike route accross the bridge and to the Montour Trail. There will likely be local bicyclists on the trail around Bost0n, PA or Dead Man's Hollow that could give good directions.   Taking the sidewalk on the Glassport-Clairton  Bridge is an option.   Probably some broken glass.  I walked that route to work for over a year and maybe passed another pedestrian I would not recommend the Elizabeth bridge.  Getting to it and to the Montour after it could be an issue. Google points out that it is shorter to leave the bike trail before I recommend.  PLEASE DO *NOT* DO THIS. Three reasons. First, the river bluffs between the Yough and the Mon are absurdly steep and high.   Four or 5 miles shorter, in distance?  Sure.  But  45 minutes longer with agonizing climbs and frightening descents. Second, the roads are narrow and winding, visibility poor.  There is a lot of fast pickup traffic. Third, it's near-exurb territory out there, more bike-hostile than either country or city.   Some of those pickup drivers are not your friends. Finally, if you post here as you are coming through, someone from the board might meet you and guide you through from Boston.   If you can tolerate exceptionally slow riding, it might be me.
2021-04-27 14:20:35
Thanks Paul and Mick.  It seems pretty clear that Route 51 is NOT the way to go due to both the bridge and the steep in and out of the river valley. Much appreciated! One follow-up if you don't mind.  Now that I've decided to cross at Clairton, does it make sense the take the GAP all the way to Boston and then head past Deadmans Hollow (as laid out by Mick above?) or to leave the GAP at Buena Vista (Buena Vista Rd to Broadlawn to Lovedale to Liberty to Clairton).    Buena Vista route is about 5 total miles shorter. Both seem to have one steep climb.
2021-04-28 13:30:12
I case I wasn't clear, I think it would insane to leave the Yough valley before you have to (down in the flats at Atlantic Ave  at Rebecca.)  I mentioned Liberty Way, but I meant along the river as it joins River Rd, not the other direction. I know of no steep climb in the route.
2021-04-28 16:38:02
Awww thanks Mick.  I think I understand now.  You're suggesting I head all the way up to Port Vue and then head SW to Glassport and cross.    Much appreciated Mick!  I might post on my way through and i'll be slow because I'm camping the whole way... Thanks again.
2021-04-29 12:00:01
Coming from Buena Vista, I would bike to McKeesport on the GAP, then get on the Steel Valley Trail's connector to Clairton. This section is share-the-road, but most of the roads have fairly low speed car traffic (the stop signs along Monongahela Ave in Glassport slow them down). And almost no hills, because you're following rivers all the way. Go to, turn on bicycling mode, and look for the green lines.
2021-04-30 12:19:45