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Trail expansion hits roadblock in Cranberry's Graham Park

| Saturday, July 5, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

Cranberry officials are hoping a delay in a mile-long expansion of a walking and biking trail in Graham Park won't increase the costs of the project.

“There's a little bit of work we have to go through to make sure everything is in order,” said Tim Schutzman, the township's waterworks coordinator.

The delays can be attributed mainly to an expansion of wetlands in the park, areas that are strictly regulated by the state.

During planning of the project, Schutzman said, one of the wetlands expanded, which changed the layout of the 10-foot-wide trail, which runs along Brush Creek.

“It's in a flood plain, so it's a little more tricky stuff,” Schutzman said. The township is submitting paperwork to the state Department of Environmental Protection for a permit for a joint stormwater management permit to cross a small tributary of Brush Creek. The township will construct a 20-foot bridge to cross that tributary.

With the recent heavy rains, Schutzman said, the area where the bridge would be located hasn't flooded, so he doesn't think the bridge would be in frequent danger of being flooded.

The township has received a $90,000 matching grant from the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. That means the township has to match the grant with $90,000 of its own, Schutzman said. He said the township hopes to limit the cost to $180,000.

Township officials said they must obtain state archaeological approval, though nothing has been found during inspections. The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission must approve access and flow easements because the trail is near the turnpike.

Construction had been scheduled to begin in the fall, but that's been pushed back until at least June of 2015, township officials said. The township expects to have permits approved by the spring.

The mile-long trail is partitioned into two sections, Schutzman said. One section goes from a spot near Powell Road to the existing trail along the football field in the park. The second section is by the park's fishing pond. It follows the creek by the park entrance.

When finished, the trail will link with new sidewalks to the Woodbine Estates and Greenfield Estates neighborhoods.

Bill Vidonic is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5621 or bvidonic@tribweb.com.

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