Last updated on April 18, 2014 at 5:48 EDT

Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail Bridge Over Pennsylvania Turnpike to Open Jan. 28

January 27, 2012

HARRISBURG, Pa., Jan. 27, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Eagerly awaited by snowmobiling and winter hiking enthusiasts, the new Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail bridge over the Pennsylvania Turnpike near Somerset will open Saturday, Jan. 28, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Richard Allan announced today.

“This span is vital to the economic vitality of the Laurel Highlands area and the diverse, all-season recreational enjoyment it provides,” Allan said. “We had hoped to open the bridge earlier this month, but weather conditions and material delivery delays kept that from happening.”

Final work this month included installation of trail gates and protective and right-of-way fencing, seeding and landscaping.

The bridge project was awarded in March to the Pittsburgh-based Mosites Construction Co. The bid totaled nearly $1.3 million for work on the 10-foot-wide, 184-foot-long span.

The old bridge, built in 1970, was closed in late 2009 and dismantled a few months later after an inspection found conditions that could endanger hikers and snowmobile riders using the bridge, as well as turnpike travelers passing beneath.

The replacement structure, built at the same site, reconnects various trail systems in the Laurel Highlands and will facilitate foot traffic as well as snowmobiles, mountain bikes and equestrians. The bridge is located just about midway between the turnpike’s Somerset and Donegal interchanges.

Owned by the Bureau of State Parks, the bridge rejoins the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail, a 70-mile corridor running north and south through state parklands and Forbes State Forest. Part of the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail, the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail is a major regional recreational attraction, drawing 80,000 to 100,000 hikers and other visitors a year.

For more information, call Laurel Hill State Park Complex at 814-445-7725, or visit www.dcnr.state.pa.us (Select “Find a Park,” then Laurel Ridge State Park).

Media contact: Terry Brady, 717-772-9101

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Source: PR Newswire