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Keystone Metals trail nearly ready, on latest Three Rivers map

| Monday, April 22, 2013, 12:10 a.m.

Turning a few inches of line on a map from dashes to solid red might not seem like much, but for the Friends of the Riverfront it's cause for celebration.

A new map of the Three Rivers Heritage Trail being released on Monday — Earth Day — will show the soon-to-be-finished segment of trail through Keystone Metals in Hays and Sandcastle Waterpark in West Homestead, which will link the riverfront trails around Pittsburgh to the Great Allegheny Passage beyond.

“This is something that's been long anticipated,” said Sarah Carr, program manager for South Side-based Friends of the Riverfront, which promotes the recreational use of Pittsburgh's rivers by building trails and parks.

“We were laying asphalt the other day, just a sub-base layer, and there were bicyclists waiting for the paving machines to finish,” said Linda McKenna Boxx, president of the Latrobe-based Allegheny Trail Alliance. “The contractor had to tell them, ‘You'll melt your tires if you try to go through. The asphalt is still hot!' ”

The Three Rivers Heritage Trail currently ends along East Carson Street, just west of the Glenwood Bridge, while the Steel Valley Trail, which leads to the Great Allegheny Passage to Cumberland, Md., and the C&O Canal Towpath to Washington, D.C., ends at The Waterfront shopping complex east of Costco in West Homestead.

Work has been under way on a segment under the Glenwood Bridge, through Keystone Metals and past Sandcastle that will provide bicyclists and pedestrians a trail all the way into Downtown Pittsburgh.

Boxx said most work should be done and the trail passable by mid-May. The official opening will be June 15, project manager Jack Paulik said.

“We have quite a bit of work to do still,” he said. That includes paving, line-painting and installing fencing, guiderails and signage, so while the trail might be showing up on the map, people won't find much there for a few more weeks.

The printed map being distributed starting Monday doesn't mention the June opening date of the new trail segment, but Carr said Friends of the Riverfront would make sure everyone who gets a copy has been told that work is ongoing.

“We're going to continue to promote that June 15 date heavily,” she said. “We'll make sure everybody knows when we distribute the maps to hotels, tour groups and stores.”

The new maps highlight two dog parks that opened along the trail in Lawrenceville and the South Side, and a note that the segment in Hazelwood may be detoured for work on the Almono LP redevelopment of the former LTV Steel Co. coke works site.

Matthew Santoni is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5625 or msantoni@tribweb.com.

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