Friends of the Riverfront, which maintains the Great Allegheny Passage in Downtown Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh’s South Side, closed the GAP on October 31 at mile marker 142.5 for approximately five weeks, around the site popularly used to view eagles nesting high above in Pittsburgh’s Hays neighborhood. There is no detour. Contractors are spending this time reconstructing this section of the Great Allegheny Passage in order to ameliorate pervasive flooding and ponding that plagues that segment of trail. The GAP will be closed to all travelers during construction.
For the past eight years, Friends of the Riverfront has dealt with a signficant drainage challenge resulting from stormwater runoff from the Hays neighborhood, PA-837, adjacent railroads, and nearby private properties, and has attempted many solutions that would help alleviate the ponding water in this location along the GAP. Unfortunately, those solutions have not solved the problem. Two years ago, Friends began working with an engineering firm on a permanent solution that would address and resolve the ponding issue and has raised approximately $250,000 towards this solution, including a grant from the Great Allegheny Passage Conservancy via proceeds from its TrailGuide publication.
Certainly, closures are not ideal, but the only viable solution requires ripping up the GAP’s surface and piping rainwater underneath and out into the Monongahela River, then reconstructing this section of trail. The work must be scheduled when it is warm enough to obtain and roll fresh asphalt and therefore cannot be performed during the winter.
You may wish to consult an outfitter regarding shuttle-for-hire services. Examples include the following: Bill”s Car Service, WheelzUp Adventures, Maple Leaf Outfitters, Wilderness Voyageurs, or Yoder’s Guest House.
Please visit www.gaptrail.org for periodic updates.