Valley Brook trail bridge to officially open Sept. 14

Published Sep 9, 2013 at 9:17 am (Updated Sep 9, 2013 at 9:17 am)

While no cars or trucks are traveling along a portion of Valley Brook Road near Washington Road in Peters Township because of a 14-month-long construction of a new ramp and other improvements, pedestrians and cyclists are moving smoothly in the area thanks to a new 100-foot truss bridge on Arrowhead Trail.

While the actual construction on the more than $500,000 bridge was completed in mid-June, the official opening, including a .2-mile section of the trail in Peters, will be held at 11 a.m. Sept. 14 at the bridge site.

Ground was broken for the new bridge about 12 months ago, and volunteers associated with the Friends of the Montour Trail in Peters Township spent several months clearing and preparing the area for the bridge construction that began in mid-March, said Mark Imgrund, who is president of the “Friends” organization.

When the portion of Valley Brook Road closed in mid-May, Imgrund said the closure did not affect construction other than delivery of the actual bridge that had to take a different route. The large structure was delivered after traveling south on Washington Road and down the ramp to the construction site.

While closure of Valley Brook Road did not affect construction, it will affect the dedication.

Imgrund and Michael Silvestri, Peters Township manager, said those attending from the western portion of the township are encouraged to park in the lot near St. Petersburg Center on Valley Brook Road, which remains open during construction, and to walk or bike to the ceremony that will take place in the parking lot of the Peters Township Sanitary Authority. No parking will be permitted in the sanitary authority parking lot.

Those attending from Cecil Township, or western areas, may take Valley Brook Road to the sanitary authority lot or use the trailhead at Linwood Avenue near Buckeye Street.

“The new trail segment along Valley Brook Road, from the western most part of the Arrowhead Trail to the completed portion of the Montour Trail, includes a 100-foot truss bridge over Brush Run and a pedestrian crossing of Valley Brook Road,” Imgrund said. “This project’s completion represents a major safety improvement as it eliminates a dangerous on-road detour.”

Arrowhead Trail is part of the Montour Trail system, even though the trail is operated by the township, Silvestri said.

“We lease it to the Montour Trail Council,” Silvestri said. The property is owned by Peters Township.

“And we helped to acquire some additional land (for the bridge,)” Silvestri said.

The Montour Trails Council and the township work together on projects such as milling of the surface, collection of garbage and cutting the grass, according to Silvestri. The newest surface on the bridge project that includes the .2-of-a-mile extension is crushed limestone, Imgrund said.

The next project near the bridge includes the redesign of the crosswalk on Valley Brook Road. Imgrund said the project is in the engineering design phase while the trail council awaits various approvals including the state Department of Transportation.

The bridge project was financed by various grants and donations including a $250,000 grant from Washington County’s Local Share funds, the state’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources grant of $95,000, and an $87,000 donation from the Montour Trails Council general fund. Other donations were received in materials and through private donations including the Rails to Trails Conservancy. Included in the total figure of more than a half million dollars, are the hours donated by the trail volunteers, Imgrund said.

Following the ribbon cutting ceremony, recipients of the customized bicycles from the My Bike program of the Variety the Children’s Charity will officially inaugurate the bridge with a ride-over.

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