Steel Valley Trail Update

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At the Mon/Yough Trail Council annual dinner over the weekend we got an update on the last section of the Great Allegheny Passage between McKeesport and Pittsburgh and I thought I would share.

First, I have a map available at Google Maps so you can follow along.

Starting in McKeesport:

For various reasons, the trail alignment will not be able to stay down by the river around Point Marion. Riders will need to stay on the road for a few blocks and enter the old Tube Works at Locust Street. Locust Street is undergoing construction now.

An agreement has been reached with RIDC for the trail alignment behind the old Tube Works. Construction to begin soon.

The Riverton Bridge is in the process of being abandoned by Union Railroad. Funding for its conversion to trail has been able to proceed without the Federal Government. That means that construction will be able to proceed immediately following the completion of abandonment, probably before the end of the year. It could be complete by the end of 2008.

Another RIDC agreement has the alignment through their property in Duquesne agreed to.

Negotiations are ongoing with Norfolk/Southern in taking the trail through the Duquesne Railyard instead of having to climb the hill on Rt837. The negotiations are going well and revolve around the particulars of how the trail will get across active rail. A bridge will need to be built. For the most part, this is an engineering challenge more than anything else.

Earlier this year, US Steel sold the county a 2 mile alignment that was the Coke Gas Pipeline on the shelf behind Kennywood. Most of the grading of this has been done by USS but there are some access challenges in getting back there to lay down a trail surface. This is going to be the highlight of this section of trail. It’s fairly remote and wooded. There are deer. It affords a view of the lock on the Mon and the Edgar Thompson Works. It passes right by the bottom of the Thunderbolt.

At Whitiker (near the Ranking Bridge) there are negotiations underway with a property owner to get from the end of the Coke Gas Pipeline to a pedestrian bridge (owned by the county) to take the trail across the active rail and into the Waterfront.

While the Waterfront has trail, about half of it is on narrow sidewalks. Negotiations are underway with property owners towards widening these sidewalks or perhaps separating the trail from the sidewalks altogether.

Negotiations are ongoing with Sandcastle. The intended alignment would be along the road accessing Sandcastle’s parking lot. Because they have built this right up against the railroad property line, this would necessitate their shifting traffic over, narrowing a lane and probably loosing a number of parking spaces.

The property owners between Sandcastle and the end of the Baldwin Borough Trail have said that if an agreement is reached with Sandcastle, they will have no problems with the trail through their properties.

So, to summarize: aside from Sandcastle and the property in Whitaker things are looking very good. Probably not good enough to complete the trail in time for Pittsburgh’s 250th anniversary but still good.

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