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Westmoreland

Loyalhanna Trail receives $500K grant from state

Stephen Huba
| Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018, 7:18 p.m.
Crabtree Creek passes underneath Route 119 in the village of Crabtree.
(Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review)
Crabtree Creek passes underneath Route 119 in the village of Crabtree.

Funding for a recreation trail that will be built over a new sanitary sewer line in Derry and Salem townships has finally fallen into place.

The state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is awarding $500,000 in grant money for the Loyalhanna Trail between Keystone State Park and New Alexandria.

“This is the final piece of the trail money we needed. The trail will be 100 percent paid for through these grants and matching funds,” said Carol Henderson, manager of the Derry Township Municipal Authority.

The proposed sewer line from Keystone State Park to New Alex­andria will be part of a system that replaces the park’s 60-year-old sewage treatment plant.

The project began last year with discussions between state park Manager Kris Baker and Henderson about the authority taking over sewage treatment for the park. The in-park plant was “well past its useful life” and in need of upgrades, according to a project summary.

The project took on an added dimension when both sides agreed to use the sewer line right of way to build the Loyalhanna Trail, a 3.8-mile bike and pedestrian trail.

With the preliminary design completed, the authority and its engineering consultant, Gibson-Thomas Engineering of Latrobe, are compiling funding from a variety of sources.

Money already in place — including $500,000 from the Keystone Fund and $1 million from the Transportation Alternatives Set-Aside program — will be used to clear and build the trail.

Henderson said the Municipal Authority met the Oct. 31 application deadline for additional funding — either a loan or a grant — to pay for the sanitary sewer line. The Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority will review the funding application when it meets again in January, she said.

The bid process will take several months, and construction could begin by midsummer, she said. The sewer line will be installed first, followed by the trail.

“For the most part, the trail follows the path of the sewer,” Henderson said.

The trail will serve as the “pivot point” for a new trail network in north central Westmoreland County, including the proposed Loyalhanna Lake Trail to the north and the partially constructed Little Crabtree Creek Trail to the southwest.

The sewer line extension will eliminate sewage-related problems in the Lower Flowers Road and Oasis Road areas of Derry Township.

Stephen Huba is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Stephen at 724-850-1280, shuba@tribweb.com or via Twitter @shuba_trib.

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