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Status of the gap in the Great Allegheny Passage

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Status of the gap in the Great Allegheny Passage

The Great Allegheny Passage is the trail between Pittsburgh, PA and Cumberland, MD, continuing on the C&O Canal to Washington, DC. This 330 mile trail is almost complete. The remaining gaps are 1 miles between Homestead, Pa and Southside Pittsburgh and a short segment by the Monongahela Wharf.

Many have been asking about the status of this gap and when it will be completed. Current projection is early Spring 2013. Official opening June 15, 2013. My (Roy's) understanding of the trail gaps between Pittsburgh and Homestead, PA. can be found here. It is based on discussions with Jack Paulik (project manager) in May 2013, augmented by field reports and discussions with the Allegheny Trail Alliance, and the Steel Valley Trail. This page is not an official of anything  (nor endorsed by) the Allegheny Trail Alliance nor the Steel Valley Trail nor Riverlife.

As of Mar 2013 there remains only three impediments to closing the GAP. An easement agreement has been reached with Sandcastle, so that problem is out of the way. The remaining three tasks are: 1) Construction of the trail along side the road that passes by Sandcastle, 2) Construction of the tall wall alongside the trail as it passes the Keystone Metals yard, 3) The 1.7 million dollars to build the switchback ramp from Smithfield Street to the Monongahela Wharf has not yet been located. Items 1 though 2 are scheduled for this spring (2013). It however is construction, so there are no guarantees about those times. Item 3 will take a little more time, although there are groups looking at putting the trail on the sidewalk along Fort Pitt Blvd as a temporary measure.

Please stay off the sections of trails that are marked as closed. For safety and legal reasons, there is to be no public use until the section is complete, including any necessary fencing. It is desired to maintain good relationships with property owners. One of the trail officials said "It has taken years to get what we have thus far from our property partners. We need to close deals on other properties with these same partners." Staying off closed trails will help.

You can get an interactive map with this information using Google Earth or Google Maps.

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Google Earth Image of trail from Pittsburgh to McKeesport
The letter in the left hand column correlates to letters in the map above.   Subscribe to receive notice
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Trail SectionComments
APoint to Monongahela Wharf
Trail Status: Open/Closed
The fountain at Point State Park is the beginning/terminus of the Great Allegheny Passage. Here one dips the bike wheel in the fountain to signify the begin/end of the journey. They are renovating the side walk and paths along the river front and around the museum. Currently (Mar 2013) access to the fountain is not available. Access to the park is from in front of the Hilton Hotel or via the Pedestrian Bridge ramps from the North and South Shore or from the Monongahela Wharf.

Trail Status: Open/Closed: The path to the fountain is closed. You can get to the Fort Pitt museum, the Blockhouse, and the sidewalk across the Fort Pitt and Duquesne bridges. (Ridden Sep 2012)
BMonongahela Wharf
Trail Status: Open
This section of trail was officially opened Nov 16,2010. It includes a very nice path along the river edge, boat tie-ups, heart plants and a flood-resistant infrastructure. Currently (Mar 2013) Access is via the parking lot ramp at the corner of Fort Duquesne Blvd and Wood Street or from Point State Park at the downstream end of the Wharf.

Trail Status: Open: (Ridden Sep 2012)

BSwitchback Wharf to Smithfield Street
Trail Status: On road
To complete the connection between the Eliza Furnace Trail and Point Park, Riverlife has plans for a "switchback" ramp from the Smithfield Street bridge down to the Mon Wharf Landing along the river. The completion of the switchback will eliminate a long block on busy Fort Pitt Blvd which is one way towards the Point. Riverlife has a commitment of $1 million for the project. There is a need to raise another $1.7 million for engineering and construction.
The city and various trail groups are in serious discussions as how best to close this gap for the 2013 riding season.
Trail Status: On road:

To get from the Mon Wharf to Smithfield Street - About half way along the wharf the exit road leads up to the left. Follow it up to Fort Pitt Blvd which is one way against you. From this point, one can go two blocks over to the Blvd of the Allies and then two blocks back on Smithfield Street, or cross Fort Pitt Blvd, turn right and walk your bike along the sidewalk for one block. Note: The sidewalk is in the central business district and therefore it is illegal to ride on this sidewalk. At the end of the block cross Smithfield street, turn right and cross Fort Pitt Blvd and the expressway ramp. Turn left on the shared use path (sidewalk) between the concrete jersey barriers.

To get from the Eliza Furnace Trail to the Mon Wharf - Cross Grant Street where the two expressway ramps join Grant. Follow the shared use path (sidewalk) between the concrete jersey barriers. Cross Smithfield Street, turn right and cross the expressway ramp. Either join the road traffic on the left side of Fort Pitt Blvd for a long block to the Monongahela Wharf entrance, or cross Fort Pitt Blvd and walk along the sidewalk for the block. Note: The sidewalk is in the central business district and therefore it is illegal to side on this sidewalk. Head down the ramp to Monongahela Wharf parking. At the bottom of the ramp turn right and proceed to the end of the parking area.
Trail Status: Closed:
CEliza Furnace Trail
Trail Status: Open
The Great Allegheny Passage uses 2.5 miles of the paved Eliza Furnace trail between the Smithfield Street Bridge and the Hot Metal bridge.

Trail Status: Open: (Ridden Mar 2013)
DHot Metal Bridge
Trail Status: Open
The Great Allegheny Passage crosses Second Avenue and the Monongahela River on the Hot Metal Bridge. This is a completely separated bridge form the automobile traffic.

Trail Status: Open: Concrete deck on bridge. (Ridden Mar 2013)
E South Side Trail
Trail Status: Open
The Great Allegheny Passage will eventually use a portion of the paved, existing South Side Trail. The South Side Trail currently dead ends towards the southeast (the end away from Pittsburgh) and does not have an outlet.

Trail Status: Open: But useless for the Great Allegheny Passage. (Ridden Mar 2013)

As of Mar 2013 your best bet is to use a shuttle service from the end of the Hot Metal Bridge to the Pump house at the Waterfront or Duquesne (Grant street in the RIDC Park) or McKeesport Marina.
FKeystone
Trail Status: Closed
Some construction has happened in this area.
The trail base has been graded and rolled. It does not have finished surface. A major fence/protection barrier needs to be constructed, and a connection to the Sandcastle section must be made. Construction has begin and is expected to be completed in time for the official open June 15, 2013.
Trail Status: Closed: for construction
GSandcastle
Trail Status: Closed
No easy place to put the trail. but a route has been finalized. The easement agreements have been signed by Sandcastlse (Aug 2012) and have been sent to the city for final signature.
Construction has begin and is expected to be completed in time for the official open June 15, 2013.
While the park is open, the cashiers have been allowing through riders to pass the gates. Both the front gate from the Waterfront shopping center, and the back gate by Keystone metal. Some riders have been proceeding illegally along the railroad tracks on the service road to connect up with the city trails. This is not recommended as you are in general no more than a few feet from the tracks, and it is very, very dangerous.

Trail Status:Closed: Homestead Police have been patrolling this area and have arrested trespassers.
HWater Front 1
Trail Status: Open
The sidewalk from Mitchells Fish House to the Sandcastle gates has been widden.

Trail Status: Open: (Ridden Jan 2013)
IWaterfront 2
Trail Status: Open
Existing Limestone 1.1 mile trail, between back of stores/apartments and river.

Trail Status: Open: (Ridden Feb 2013)
JWaterfront 3
Trail Status: Open
Trail Status: Open: As of June 10, 2011
The trail use to run along the narrow sidewalk from the Pump House to the bottom of the Waterfront exit.
The trail now has a seperate lane along the river side of the street. It has two way bicycle trafficand is protected from the automotive traffic by candlesticks. (Ridden Feb 2013)
KWaterfront to Mckeesport
Trail Status: Open
Trail Status: Open: As of June 10, 2011
The 10 foot paved trail from the Waterfront to Mckessport crosses the railroad twice and passes the bottom of Kennywood on the Gas pipline road. (Ridden Feb 2013)
LLocust St
Trail Status: Open on sidewalk
At present the trail uses the sidewalk on the north side of Locust Street to get from the Industrial Park to the Marina, where the existing trail starts. The sidewalk has bicycle symbols painted on it about every thirty feet.

Trail Status: Open on sidewalk: Using city sidewalks (ridden Dec 2012)
MMckees Point Marina
Trail Status: Open
Paved trail through the Marina area and the Park with a side trail out to McKees Point (The junction of the Youghiogheny and the Monongahela. Trail Status: Open: (Ridden Dec 2012)
Note: As always we have made a serious effort to present accurate descriptions.  However we are human, These sections of trail are undergoing change, and we occasionally receive incorrect information.  Therefore we can not be responsible for discrepancies between these descriptions and actual trail conditions.   Use common sense, judgment, be careful out there and stay off the closed sections of trail.

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You are visiting Linking Up, copyright © 1999,2002,2007 by Mary Shaw and Roy Weil. We encourage you to link to these pages or print copies for personal use. However, if you want to copy the material for any other use, you must ask us first. The contents of these web pages is also available in a book. See other outdoor publications by the authors. Page last updated August 05, 2008