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McKeesport will move a section of the GAP trail to riverfront, expanding scenic views

The Great Allegheny Passage.
Kate Giammarise
90.5 WESA
The Great Allegheny Passage Trail along the Monongahela River.

A land donation in McKeesport will allow a roughly mile-long section of the Great Allegheny Passage Trail to be relocated to a nearby riverfront area.

The Regional Industrial Development Corporation of Southwestern Pennsylvania announced the donation earlier this week.

“This donation enables the McKeesport community to forge a scenic, new path for their portion of the Great Allegheny Passage and provides long-term public access to the riverfront,” said Donald F. Smith, Jr., president of RIDC.

The portion of the trail to be re-routed runs between mile 132.6 and 133.6, said Bryan Perry, executive director of the Great Allegheny Passage Conservancy. That section currently runs through the industrial park in McKeesport, crossing a railroad track and running parallel to the track behind the McKeesport Police station and former Daily News building.

A map of the future trail in McKeesport
A map of the future trail in McKeesport.

The riverfront rerouting will put the trail closer to the water and highlight beautiful vistas and views of the Monongahela and Youghiogheny Rivers, as well as removing the live railroad crossing, Perry said.

“We’ve talked about creating this new path for a long time and with RIDC’s generous donation, we’ll be able to make that dream a reality,” said McKeesport Mayor Michael Cherepko in a statement. “We are fortunate to have our own ‘point’ at the confluence of the Monongahela and Youghiogheny rivers. It will a scenic destination along the Great Allegheny Passage.”

A railroad crossing on the Great Allegheny Passage Trail in McKeesport.
Brian Siewiorek
90.5 WESA
A railroad crossing on the Great Allegheny Passage trail in McKeesport.

His office could not be reached for further questions and a timeline for any changes is unclear.

“It's going to be more scenic, no question,” said State Sen. Jim Brewster. The McKeesport Democrat has advocated for the change for years. A state multi-modal grant will upgrade the new section of the trail, he said.

The Great Allegheny Passage, popular with bicyclists, is a 150-mile trail linking downtown Pittsburgh to Cumberland, Maryland; a connecting trail makes it possible to journey all the way to Washington, D.C.

A study released last year found the trail has more than a million visitors annually and millions of dollars in economic impact.

Earlier this year, Allegheny County officials announced a $6 million investment in connecting the historic Carrie Blast Furnace site to the GAP trail.

Kate Giammarise focuses her reporting on poverty, social services and affordable housing. Before joining WESA, she covered those topics for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for nearly five years; prior to that, she spent several years in the paper’s Harrisburg bureau covering the legislature, governor and state government. She can be reached at or 412-697-2953.