In November 2015, the 9.2-mile +/- segment of the Turtle Creek Industrial Railroad corridor running from the western edge of Lincoln Avenue in Export to Trafford was acquired for its conversion to a recreational rail trail that will be an extension of the Westmoreland Heritage Trail (WHT) that presently runs from Saltsburg to Athena Drive in Delmont.
The Turtle Creek Extension of the WHT will link Export, Murrysville, Monroeville, Penn Township, and Trafford, as well as eventually extend the Westmoreland Heritage Trail from Delmont, Slickville, and Saltsburg. This rail-trail will bring many recreational benefits and opportunities for economic development to these communities.
Most of the trail corridor is accessible for hikers and mountain bikers on a "use at your own risk" basis.
Funding for acquisition of the rail corridor included:
A December 2013 DCNR award of a grant of $457,000 to Westmoreland County toward the acquisition.
A December 2013 award of a $250,000 grant from a private foundation toward this purchase. A May 2014 award of another $250,000 grant from a private foundation.
A June 2014 award of a $126,000 grant from the Redevelopment Authority of Allegheny County approved a Community Infrastructure and Tourism Fund (CITF) toward the 1.3-mile segment of the Turtle Creek (TC) railroad corridor in Monroeville.
Substantial local contributions, including those made during Westmoreland County's annual March For Parks.
Funding for design and construction of the trail from Trafford to the "Roberts Parcel" that fronts on Route 22 in Murrysvile near Airgas has also now been secured. (Future trail heads will include one at the "Roberts Parcel" as well as ones at B-Y Park in Trafford and ar Saunders Station Road in Monroeville.) This funding consists of :
A 2014 award of $1M of PA Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) funding toward construction of the rail-trail.
A 2015 award of $800,000 of additional PA TAP funding from the Southwest PA Commission and PennDOT toward construction of the rail- trail.
A January 2016 DCNR award of $500,000 for construction of the rail-trail.
Substantial local contributions, including those made during Westmoreland County's annual March for Parks.
Funding for construction of the trail from the "Roberts Parcel" to Export includes a January 2017 award of $1M of additional PA Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) funding.
Preliminary construction efforts for the Trafford to Murrysville segment:
Rails and ties have been removed.
Franklin Township Municipal Sanitary Authority (FTMSA) has installed a new sewer main under what will become the 1.8-mile rail trail from the sewer pump station near Trafford Road to the FTMSA treatment plant at the end of Meadowbrook Road. FTMSA's effort included widening the RR berm, installing cross-culverts, re-building and enlarging ditches, and bringing the top grade of the berm to a condition ready for aggregate base and limestone trail dust surfacing.
The Turtle Creek Industrial Railroad caboose has been renovated as a historical resource / visitors center, and is situated on a rail siding near Lincoln Avenue in Export.
Export's caboose (photo courtesy of Jeff Richards)
Reconstruction of some of the bridges along the rail-trail is already underway, with the bridge near Trafford Road completed. Thank you to those whose sponsorship is supporting reconstruction of these bridges! And Thank you to the volunteers who have helped with the bridges' reconstruction!