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Commissioners Detail Trail Improvements

October 26th, 2015 by WCBC Radio

Allegany County Government marked the completion of this important project with an Unveil the Trail! Celebration at the project site on Friday, October 23.

Daniel S. DeWitt, P.E., Project Manager, Allegany County Department of Public Works, was the Master of Ceremonies. The ceremony included a project overview/history, presentations on the importance of trail tourism in Allegany County, and a ribbon-breaking event. Brett Showalter, featured cyclist, had the honor to “bike and break” the green, yellow and orange construction tape which served as the ribbon. Representatives from the Department of Public Works – Engineering Division offered walking tours of the project area and answered questions. Guests enjoyed fall-themed refreshments.

All of the participating partners were represented. A number of local officials, local outfitters, members of Western Maryland Wheelmen, and community members attended as well. Speakers included William R. Valentine, President of the Board of County Commissioners, Delegate Wendell Beitzel, Robin Summerfield representing US Senator Ben Cardin, Brian K. Grim, Mayor of Cumberland, Paul F. Kahl, P.E. Director of the Allegany County Department of Public Works, Adam Patterson, P.E., County Engineer, Allegany County Department of Public Works, Barbara Buehl, Allegany County Director of Tourism, Elizabeth Stahlman, President of Mountain Maryland Trails, and Larry Brock with the Western Maryland Wheelmen.

The Project

The previous GAP trail crossing in the City of Cumberland at the intersection of Valley and Lee Streets was unsafe for both pedestrians and motorists. Using federal earmark funds, the Allegany County Department of Public Works – Engineering Division designed a solution to re-route the trail under the bridge carrying Valley Street over Wills Creek. The new alignment allows trail users to avoid the dangerous road crossing via a new trail underpass. There were environmental and beautification enhancements as well. Approximately one fourth of an acre of impervious concrete surface was removed and replaced with pin oak and maples trees. These site improvements were implemented to address safety issues and enhance the overall appearance of the area.

The Great Allegheny Passage is a valuable resource for Allegany County. It provides year-round recreational opportunities for citizens of and visitors to our community – walking, running, biking, bird watching, seasonal snow shoeing and cross county skiing, and, in designated sections, horseback riding.

Project Partners

The project was a collaborative one. The Allegany County Department of Public Works – Engineering Division, under the direction of Paul F. Kahl, P.E., Director of Public Works, and Adam Patterson, P.E., County Engineer, completed all design and engineering for the project in-house.

The project was competitively bid and awarded to Carl Belt, Inc., Cumberland, in August. Carl Belt, Inc. completed the work through the Belt Construction Division. There were also local subcontractors for the project – A.C. Armstrong Design Group, LLC, Belt Paving, Inc. and PSI Striping, Inc.

The Maryland State Highway Administration District 6 Construction Office administered the project on behalf of the Federal Highway Administration. Other partners for the project included Mountain Maryland Trails, the local affiliate of the Allegheny Trail Alliance, the City of Cumberland, and the City of Frostburg.

Allegany County Government worked closely with Jack Abell, Inc., Cumberland, during the design, right-of-way, and construction phases of the project. While still maintaining daily operations in and out of the site, Jack Abell, Inc. was very accommodating to trail construction activities and was an integral partner in developing final surface restoration solutions beneficial for all entities involved.

Allegany County Government

Allegany County Government is responsible for maintaining the 22 mile section of the Great Allegheny Passage through Allegany County from Cumberland to the Mason-Dixon Line. The Great Allegheny Passage is 150 miles long and connects with the 184.5 mile Chesapeake & Ohio Canal Towpath in Cumberland to create a 334.5 mile trail free of motorized vehicles between Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Washington, DC.

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