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Track relocation project boosts Millvale, Pa., trail

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A bumpy half-mile missing link on the North Shore Trail will be filled handsomely this winter by a $5-million elevated structure stretching from near the 31st Street Bridge to the Three Rivers Rowing Association's boathouse in Millvale, Pa., according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

trail addition "is actually one long bridge along the riverbank,"
said Thomas E. Baxter IV, executive director of Friends of the Riverfront, the
nonprofit organization that sponsored and championed the project.

addition is part of a $21.9-million Pennsylvania Department of Transportation
project to relocate railroad tracks running parallel to Route 28 to clear the
way for a major reconstruction and widening of the highway.

project will begin soon with completion of the trail bridge scheduled for
April. There will be no closure of the trail during the project, Baxter said.

now, riders on the North Shore who wanted to continue to Millvale had to endure
a rutted half-mile unimproved section across Norfolk Southern property between
the entrance to the Washington’s Landing pedestrian bridge and the boathouse.

project calls for moving the railroad tracks closer to the river, on the course
currently used by trail patrons. The trail will occupy a 12-foot-wide elevated
structure built over the edge of the riverbank. Baxter said the structure would
be above the 100-year flood plain. It will be wide enough to accommodate
emergency vehicles. Because the structure will be built before rail lines are
moved, there will be no need to close the trail during construction.

the railroad tracks is a key to PennDOT’s plan to improve the notorious Route
28 "death stretch" from Chestnut Street to the 40th Street Bridge. The
relocation project is funded through the federal economic stimulus program. The
trail improvement got $2.9 million in stimulus money, $1.5 million from earlier
federal earmarks, $500,000 from the state Department of Conservation and
Natural Resources and $100,000 allocated by state Sen. Jim Ferlo, D-Highland
Park., Baxter said.

railroad relocation project is scheduled for completion in spring 2012. Minor
restrictions may occur on Route 28 and River Avenue and a full closure of the
31st Street Bridge for about one month will be required as the project
continues, PennDOT said.

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