When completed, the Great Allegheny Passage rail-trail will offer 150 miles of hiking and biking between Cumberland, Maryland and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In Cumberland, the Passage joins the C&O Canal Towpath, creating a continuous 335 mile long trail, extending all the way to Washington, DC.
Expansion of the trail required the use of two pedestrian bridges to cross multiple lines of railroad tracks. The project required coordination with Norfolk Southern, Union Railroad and Allegheny County. Due to competitive pricing, the owner, Regional Trail Corporation, turned to Contech for a solution.
“The Great Allegheny Passage is a non-motorized trail,” stated Linda McKenna Boxx, president of the Allegheny Trail Alliance. “To attain a safe, off-road trail, a set of bridges was needed to cross the active railroads because no other real estate was available. This solution is going to provide our trail users a continued world-class trail experience.” Two Continental® weathering steel pedestrian truss bridges from Contech with Trex® decking and vinyl coated fencing were chosen for this project. At the Port Perry site, a 112-ft. x 12-ft. Continental with two main landing towers and seven pier towers was installed. In addition, nine 75-ft. x 12-ft. ramp sections were utilized. At the Whitaker site, a 170-ft. x 12-ft. Continental with one main landing tower and three pier towers connected the trail. In addition, four 95-ft. x 12-ft. ramp sections were utilized.
Both structures were installed during the 2010 Fourth of July holiday week while railroad operations were limited. The main challenge of the project was ensuring that delivery and installation went smoothly in a very short time period so the main line of Norfolk Southern could be reopened for use on time. The challenge was met and, with one crane at each site, the main spans of the structures were installed flawlessly over the railroad tracks in just two hours. In addition, fabricating the towers and spans off-site minimized railroad flagging costs. Paint was not required on the structures, reducing anticipated maintenance costs.
“Contech was awarded the bid for these structures in the fall of 2009,” stated Jack Paulik, Project Manager for the Regional Trail Corporation. “The high quality, affordable structures met our needs within the limited timetable for construction and were essential in completing this project on time. Precise coordination was also important among the many parties involved. Personally, I was very pleased with the professionalism of Contech-ft.s management team in constructing and delivering our structures. The project included 26 individual deliveries from Minnesota to Pittsburgh over a two month period. Each delivery was precisely coordinated to fit the erection schedule within limited space for operations on site.”