Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail Bridge
The Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail is a 70 mile recreational facility in southwest Pennsylvania. Near the trail’s midpoint in Jefferson Township, Westmoreland County, the trail crossed over the Pennsylvania Turnpike on a 224 foot single-span steel K-frame pedestrian bridge. This structure was built in the 1970s with the establishment of the trail.
In advance of an anticipated widening of the Turnpike to a six-lane configuration and the resulting need to replace the trail overpass, the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources retained Gibson-Thomas to perform an evaluation of trail alignments and to design the replacement structure.
Various alignments and structure alternatives were evaluated. The preferred replacement structure type was a 184 foot long, single-span, dual 78 inch deep welded steel plate girder bridge supported by full-height concrete abutments. The structure was designed to support snow-grooming equipment and emergency vehicles. To provide an aesthetic structure that complimented the surrounding rural trails, form liners and tinted concrete were used on the abutments and concrete barriers to provide a natural stone finish.
Construction of the bridge was completed in the spring of 2012.