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Reply to GAP Trail Section Closure

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Reply to GAP Trail Section Closure
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Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 11/14/2020 9:20:18 PM:
Just a reminder below about the multi-month closure of a section of the GAP Trail outside Pittsburgh. OCT 30 2020 | Winter Construction to Close 10-Mile Section near Boston The Regional Trail Corporation, which owns and manages significant sections of the Great Allegheny Passage between Homestead and Connellsville, announced that it will close the GAP to all travelers between mile marker 120.9 (the Buena Vista trail access area and parking lot) and mile marker 131.1 (where the GAP crosses Liberty Way in Port Vue, near McKeesport), beginning November 16, 2020. This closure is planned to last for five months – at least until April 15, 2021, and perhaps slightly longer depending on winter weather and the progress of contractors. There is no posted or easy detour, as nearby roads are hilly and narrow. We will keep www.gaptrail.org updated on progress as we receive updates from the Regional Trail Corporation. This closure will allow contractors deployed by Elizabeth Township to install municipal sewer lines underneath the GAP for approximately nine miles. Long-term benefits include the replacement or repair of culverts that divert stormwater runoff under the GAP, and a complete trail resurfacing between Boston and Buena Vista. Our best advice to thru-riders, aside from shortening your trip, is to arrange a shuttle between McKeesport and Buena Vista. The following businesses may be able to serve you: Bill’s Car Service (412-855-4484), Wilderness Voyagers (800-272-4141), or 2 Wheel Escapes (240-674-7626).

Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 12/4/2020 11:04:31 PM:
As of this morning, the portion of the GAP from Port Vue to Boston is open. Conversely there is indeed a Trail Closed sign on the trail leaving Boston toward Dravo Cemetery.

Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 2/24/2021 3:59:04 PM:
Two announcements were posted on the GAP website on 2/22/21. At first they both appeared to be the same as those posted on 11/25/20 and 10/30/20 pertaining to the closures of the Paw Paw Tunnel and a 10-mile section of the GAP Trail respectively. The new post regarding the Paw Paw Tunnel closure appears to be the same as the announcement last fall of its closure until mid-2022 and the arduous detour up and over the tunnel. At first glance the new post regarding the closure of the 10-mile section of the GAP Trail also appears to be the same as the earlier announcement. There is one subtle difference however. The original post indicated that that section would be closed "at least until April 15 2021". The latest post states that it will be closed "at least until late April 2021". This subtle change suggests that the work on this trail section is somewhat behind the original schedule. Perhaps the recent snows in the Pittsburgh area have impacted winter construction. It would be well advised for those planning an early May trip to monitor the GAP website for any updates about the reopening of that trail section.

Rick from Greenock, PA on 3/11/2021 10:28:45 PM:
do you know if they will replace the surface of the trail from Boston to Buena Vista with crushed limestone? It seems to me that that surface takes a long time to "settle". Any chance they might replace it with asphalt?

Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 3/12/2021 9:32:49 PM:
Rick: I don't know the answer to your question at this time but have made inquiries to the Regional Trail Council and GAP Trail information site about the restoration and resurfacing specifications following completion of the sewer line. Being in Greenock you surely have a birdseye view of that sewer work and the amount of excavation going on. The method of restoration is quite important. The trail surface through that area was generally very good as you know in all but the wettest of times and even then soft but quite rideable. In some earlier forum string someone observed that the GAP Trail is generally much better than the C&O Towpath in wet weather because its origin was a railroad rather than an earthen path. Railroads typically have a substantial stone/gravel subbase which allows very good drainage beneath the surface. The excavations for the new sewer line are likely deep and may well have disturbed or removed the gravel/stone subbase. If so, I would hope they would return that material rather than simply backfill with compacted soil and then spread stone dust on top. We'll see what the response to my inquiry is. You may be able to see what they are doing as well. With a good and properly installed subbase and surface layer, the resultant stone trail would be nearly as good, if not better, than asphalt paving in the long run. The restored section of the C&O Towpath that followed good restoration practices has been a noteworthy improvement thus far. Asphalt paving deteriorates over time as Pennsylvania roads confirm. If the surface heaves or roots grow beneath the paving the asphalt can become rather uncomfortable. For example, the paved section of the WMRT that parallels the C&O Towpath that approaches Hancock is almost painful to ride.

Rick from Greenock, PA on 3/12/2021 11:59:51 PM:
We tried to ride from Boston to Greenock this week with the nice dry weather. It was nearly impassible, but I can't see that any effort has been made thus far to restore the trail itself. There are still sections of sewer line to be installed and a steady stream of tri-axle trucks heading up the trail toward Buena Vista. As there is no road access between us and Buena Vista, they are using the trail itself as the road. They have placed a large quantity of heavy rock on the trail to make it passible for the trucks which will have to be removed before proper restoration. In all, I think that their April 15 end date is a pipe dream (NPI). So instead of being able to ride out or our back yard onto the trail, we have to do like everyone else and transport our bikes to a passible section.

Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 3/13/2021 8:10:01 AM:
Unfortunately the GAP website now states that the trail will be closed "at least to April 30 and perhaps longer". As for the trucks driving on the trail, at least we know the trail will be well compacted. The good news is that the placement of the large stone for them to drive on could be the start of a good, well-draining subbase. Living in Homestead I am fortunate not to have to drive to a remote trailhead to pickup the trail. However, the views along the trail are not as nice or green as further out your way and beyond. Soon I am going to ride out to Boston and then try to ride up Greenock Buena Vista Road and bypass the construction to Buena Vista.

Rick from Greenock, PA on 3/14/2021 10:28:15 AM:
Update on the GAP trail from Boston to Buena Vista. My wife and I biked the section from Boston to our house (about 2 miles last week. It is very rough, but passable. Past us going to Buena Vista is nearly impassible, so we walked about 2.5 miles to mile post 124. For locals, this is where the Yough bends and they placed to benches there and there is probably the best view around. Also, the bald eagle nest is about 200 yds away from the benches. We didn't see any eagles. I'm guessing they are sitting on the eggs right now. Back to the trail. There is still about 300 yds of pipe to be placed on the section we walked. Until it is placed, they can't start to renovate the trail surface. 3-4 brave souls had their mountain bikes and gave us updates passed where we turned around. the trail is very rough from Greenock to Dravo Cemetery, but gets better after that. Based on the progress made thus far, I can't see this getting done by the end of April. Going from Boston toward Pittsburgh is also rough, but the trail is paved from Dead Man's Hollow which is about 0.75 from Boston.

Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 3/15/2021 8:16:35 PM:
Rick: Here's the response by the Regional Trail Council to your question about restoration/resurfacing of the trail following completion of the sewer installation project: "It will all be resurfaced basically the same as it was previously, the drainage issues will also be corrected." This doesn't identify the actual engineering specifications for the restoration but implies that it will be returned to its previous condition or better. I trust that will be the case. If the base and surface layers are properly compacted, the settlement should be minimal but I frankly would expect it will take a period of time for the stone dust to fully fill the voids remaining beneath following compaction.