Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Riverfront trail near Mon Wharf to close during safety improvement project

A mockup of the planned changes to the Downtown riverfront trail.
Provided by Riverlife
A mockup of the planned changes to the Downtown riverfront trail.

With sprawling stone paths and a flowing fountain, Point State Park has long served as the end to the Great Allegheny Passage trail, and as a stop along the Three Rivers Heritage trail. But, before reaching the Point, visitors have to navigate a steep, dim, and bottlenecked path along the Monongahela River. A renovation project begins today to fix this.

Pennsylvania’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the conservation group Friends of the Riverfront will be working on the various pinch-points and steep areas along this trail.

“You’re riding on the trail, and you’re getting close to the very end, and this grand fountain and river convergence and downtown skyscrapers and Mt. Washington. But then you’re kind of squeezed into this cement-like cavern and worried about your safety,” said Kelsey Ripper, executive director of Friends of the Riverfront.

The area between the Monongahela Wharf and Point State Park will be closed to widen these pinch-points and build longer ramps with a lower incline, said Jake Weiland, manager of the project through the Pennsylvania’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

Trail visitation has remained high since the COVID-19 lockdown and the summer months, meaning these trails are used more than ever. These renovations will provide more visibility to visitors, and a greater sense of comfort along the riverside.

“It's not just the safety or aesthetics — we’re improving the experience…that's the essence of the project,” says Weiland.

The construction is expected to end in August of this year, and signs will guide people through the temporary detour downtown.