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Great Allegheny Passage near complete, final segments underway

The Great Allegheny Passage is almost complete, and a groundbreaking ceremony was held this weekend to celebrate the construction of the trail’s final two segments.

The trail is a 141 mile car-free route for cyclists and hikers running from Homestead, PA to Cumberland, Maryland.  In Cumberland the GAP joins the C&O Canal Towpath, which together creates a continuous, 325-mile long trail from Pittsburgh to Washington D.C.

Saturday’s ceremony was held at Sandcastle Waterpark, where a new segment will be built along the amusement park’s interior road, at the rear of the park.  The new segment will be separated from vehicular traffic.

The final segment will be built on a former railroad spur on land that had until recently belonged to Keystone Iron and Metal.  Friends of the Riverfront (FOR) had worked with Keystone to develop a land-swap deal that was necessary to fill this final void in the trail.

“They’ve been a great partner for a very long time and it was a pleasure working with them now and into the future,” says Thomas Baxter, FOR executive director.

Baxter expects the two segments to be complete sometime next year in late spring or early summer.  Once complete, a trail party will be held to commemorate the occasion.  Baxter says a date will be announced soon.

“It’s a monumental undertaking, but thankfully, through a lot of dedicated people it’s finally all coming together,” Baxter says.

The Great Allegheny Passage has been a work in progress for the past 30 years.  In 1995 the Allegheny Trail Alliance was formed, a coalition of regional trail organizations that includes the Three Rivers Heritage Trail, the Steel Valley Trail Council, Mountain Maryland Trails, and more.

 
Writer:  Andrew Moore
Source: Thomas Baxter
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