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Montour Trail grows; a word to the wise on traffic tonight

Written by Jon Schmitz on .

The Montour Trail Council will celebrate the grand opening of a new bridge and 0.8 miles of trail in South Park Township on Saturday, July 13, beginning at 1 p.m. Among those expected to attend are U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy, who jogs on the Montour, and Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald.

The new segment along Piney Fork creek, from Triphammer Road to Piney Fork Road, includes a 115-foot truss bridge over the Piney Fork stream. The bridge was refurbished and finished with a wooden deck by volunteers. Originally built in 1920, the structure was used as a footbridge for workers at a Monessen steel mill before being acquired by the trail council. Emblems from three different steel companies are visible on the bridge.

The ceremony will be at the new Triphammer Road trailhead near the bridge. Parking at the site is limited. Attendees are encouraged to walk or bike to the event from the other trailheads at Piney Fork Road, Brownsville Road Extension and Stewart Road.

Trail council president Dennis Pfeiffer and government envoy Ned Williams will discuss trail improvements, including progress in restoring the nearby Library Viaduct over Route 88. Only a few gaps remain in what has become a 55-mile system through Allegheny and Washington counties.

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The transportation funding bill that the Pennsylvania Legislature couldn’t reach agreement on would have created a multimodal fund, part of which would go for bike and pedestrian improvements. So add trail users to those left at the curb by our elected representatives.

Walk & Ride PA, a coalition of bicycle and walking enthusiasts, public health organizations and military officials, issued a statement expressing disappointment at the legislative inaction.

Without multimodal funding, Pennsylvania “will continue to lag behind neighboring states in making roads and communities safer and more accessible for active transportation — bicycling and walking,” the group said.
Steve Doster, who heads Walk & Ride PA and is Pennsylvania state director of Mission: Readiness, a national security organization of retired generals and admirals that focuses on childhood obesity issues, said the transportation bill would have provided $2 million annual in dedicated funding for bike-pedestrian improvements.

“Making our roads and communities safer and more accessible for walking and bicycling improves roadway safety for all, encourages environmentally friendly transportation, serves as an economic engine, and is a cost-effective means to improved public health across Pennsylvania,” he said.

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If you’re coming to Downtown Pittsburgh for the regatta, Pirates, musical event at Rivers Casino or any other reason today, you should arrive early. This type of confluence of events has caused Parkway West backups all the way to I-79 in the past. Add in the holiday travel traffic and there’s a good chance of serious gridlock. You can check on traffic conditions at 511pa.com.

Also, be aware that Pennsylvania State Police intend to cite any motorists who stop on bridges or interstate highways to watch fireworks. Unattended vehicles will be towed. The inbound Fort Pitt Tunnel will close at 9:15 p.m. Thursday and traffic will be detoured to the West End Circle until the fireworks display ends. No tunnel closure is planned during tonight's regatta fireworks display.

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roadconstructionOverhead sign improvements on the Parkway East and Parkway West will cause intermittent lane closures after 10 p.m. weekdays starting Monday and continuing through July 20 between Monroeville and Interstate 79. Work concludes by 6 a.m. daily.

Repairs to water and sewer lines at Hamilton and North Lang avenues in Homewood will occur from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and continue on Monday through Friday during the same times next week. Police will control traffic.

The bridge on Saxonburg Boulevard over Deer Creek in Indiana Township will close for replacement at 9 a.m. Monday. The bridge is between Fossil Ridge Road and Eichenlaub Landscaping. Traffic will be detoured via Route 910, Oak Road and Bairdford Road through late August.

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Little Pine Creek Road will be closed between Wetzel Road and Byerley Avenue in Shaler from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Thursday for a 5K race.

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