Route 22 Pedestrian/Bicyclist Bridge
Over the last several decades, trail planners and regional stakeholders have been developing a recreational trail network throughout Pennsylvania. While several large contiguous corridors have been constructed – such as the Great Allegheny Passage trail in southwestern Pennsylvania – many others still have sections in the planning, design, or construction phases. One such trail corridor passes through southern Indiana County. The Conemaugh Valley Conservancy operates the West Penn Trail to a point near Blairsville, while the Ghost Town and Hoodlebug Trails link Indiana and Ebensburg via Saylor Park in Black Lick. The Borough of Blairsville also maintains the Blairsville Riverfront Trail. What remains is an approximately 4 mile gap in a regional recreational trail and bike route network that will eventually connect Pittsburgh with Altoona, Johnstown, and beyond.
The Route 22 Pedestrian-Bicyclist Bridge Project in Burrell Township, Indiana County is the first project within that gap that has obtained construction and design funding. The project proposes to build an overhead bridge across Route 22 near the Route 119 interchange, linking the current end of the Hoodlebug Trail near Cornell Road to a temporary trailhead at a PennDOT Park and Ride Lot. It is the culmination of nearly a decade of research, studies, fundraising, and engineering activities. The bridge was recommended by a Road Safety Audit of Route 22 and the Indiana County Regional Trail Connectivity Study. The design and construction phases of the project are funded by state and federal grants as well as contributions from local organizations.
Gibson-Thomas served as the lead designer of the proposed bridge. The project started with stakeholder meetings to evaluation functionality and aesthetics. It then progressed though the PennDOT design process and final design approvals were received in the fall of 2020. Construction is anticipated to be complete by the Fall of 2023.