Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail Bridge Replacement to Begin May 31

May 25, 2011, 15:52 ET from Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

HARRISBURG, Pa., May 25, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Construction is set to begin May 31 on the new Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail bridge over the Pennsylvania Turnpike near Somerset.

"Everyone involved in this project knows just how vital a new span is to the recreational enjoyment and economic vitality of the Laurel Highlands area," acting DCNR Secretary Richard J. Allan said. "The safety of all concerned -- whether hikers, snowmobiling enthusiasts, or turnpike travelers -- always has been our top priority in addressing this bridge."

The bridge project was awarded in March to the Pittsburgh-based Mosites Construction Co.  The bid totaled nearly $1.3 million. Work on the 10-foot-wide, 184-foot-long span is scheduled to be complete in early December.

The old span 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 original bridge was built in 1970.

The replacement structure, to be built at the same site, will reconnect various trail systems in the Laurel Highlands. It is located just about midway between the Turnpike's Somerset and Donegal interchanges.

The bridge, which is owned by the Bureau of State Parks, will reconnect 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 Manager Mike Mumau at 814-445-7725.

Media contact: Terry Brady, 717-772-9101

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources