Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Fw: Pa. Turnpike Bridge Piers -- Urgent Opportunity and Call to Action!

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From: "Fawcett, David" <>
Date: Wed, 14 Jul 2010 10:20:29 -0400
To: Fawcett, David<>
Subject: Pa. Turnpike Bridge Piers -- Urgent Opportunity and Call to Action!

Dear Riverfront Park Supporter:
As reported by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the steel spans of the old Pennsylvania Turnpike Bridge traversing 14 Mile Island and the Allegheny River at the Allegheny Valley/Harmarville exit were demolished yesterday, but "the turnpike is holding off on demolishing the bridge piers while Allegheny County considers whether to preserve them for a future bike trail crossing."
There are presently four enormous stone piers left standing:  two lead to 14 Mile Island from Harmar Township, two abut the island, and one abuts the shoreline on the Plum Township side of the river. These piers could be very valuable someday to allow for pedestrian and bike access to 14 Mile Island or as a trail connector between trails that some day may line one or both sides of the Allegheny River.  14 Mile Island is owned by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (DCNR), and is a tranquil island with swimming and fishing spots and sandy beaches.  It would be a great opportunity someday to provide Allegheny County residents and visitors with access to this treasure of an island. 
Although providing a bridge connection to the island or spanning the entire river are only possibilities at this time, these possibilities will be lost forever if the piers are destroyed!  Bridge piers like these would cost tens of millions of dollars to construct.  Initial analyses indicate that the piers would result in minimal expense to maintain and minimal risk of liability exposure, but these are concerns expressed by County officials.
The decision whether to dynamite the piers or preserve them for future use will be made in the next few days or weeks.  An email from you to our County Executive, Dan Onorato, would be very important to keep this opportunity alive!  If you agree that the piers should not be destroyed, please email Mr. Onorato now and let your voice be heard.  Put it in your own words or simply ask "Please keep the Turnpike Bridge piers!"  His email address is  You may also want to send a copy to Council Members at   And forward this email along to others who share the vision!
You were an important supporter of the concept of the vision of a Countywide Riverfront Park -- defined as a linear park, running from county line to county line on one side or the other of all of our major rivers, with bridge connections and amenities all along the way.  Great progress has been made toward the completion of this vision -- with a comprehensive network of riverfront trails well on the way.  Our County Executive has been a great supporter of riverfront development and trail efforts, but now is the time to stand behind him to preserve this special opportunity.  He needs to hear from you!  In the meantime, please call or email me directly if you have questions or need more information.
Dave Fawcett
Former At-Large Member
Allegheny County Council 


David B. Fawcett

301 Grant St., 20th Floor

Pittsburgh, PA    15219

(412) 562-3931


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