The final mile of the Great Allegheny Passage is expected to be completed in April 2013. When done, the 141-mile bicycle trail will connect Pittsburgh to Maryland. At that point, the trail, which connects to Washington D.C via the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal Towpath, has a small gap between Pittsburgh and Duquesne. Officials say the trail is already a big draw, and this will only boost that.
“It’s becoming an international tourism destination, hundreds of thousands of people come to this region, spend their money, have a great time, enjoy the scenery because of this trail system,” said Linda Boxx, with the Allegheny Trail Alliance.
When bicyclists use the trail, they stop and eat, stay, and shop in places along the way.
“We are seeing probably $60 million of direct spending in the communities along the trail. When the trail system is completed, I’m sure we’re going to see $100 million a year in economic return,” said Boxx.
Construction of the final mile, through Sandcastle Water Park, will require crews to move utility poles and widen the road. The final stretch is expected to cost nearly $3.5 million, which will be paid for through a mix of private and public funding.