Hi everyone – here’s an update we just posted in the General Community Forum:
As many of you know, last summer Riverlife announced a community campaign to raise the final money needed to build the Mon Wharf Switchback, a Downtown bike-ped ramp that will connect the Smithfield Street Bridge down to the Mon Wharf Landing and bring the Great Allegheny Passage directly into Point State Park. The community response was incredible, with over $7,700 donated by 130 individuals in just a matter of days. We’ve been busy all fall and winter working on the Switchback, and as stewards of this project we wanted to give you a candid update on its status.
Building connections to our rivers always requires innovation, and the process for the Switchback has taken longer than we expected. Last fall, estimates for materials came back much higher than anticipated due to the fluctuating cost of steel for such a sizable structure. The site itself—directly adjacent to busy Interstate 376, on a steep riverbank under a historic bridge —has proven to be a challenging location for staging construction, requiring meticulous planning as we only have one chance to execute the project.
In order to keep the Switchback within the original budget, we’re working with a team of engineers to look at alternative materials and determine design efficiencies. This productive process will allow us to build the highest quality and most affordable Switchback possible. Bidding for construction is still on track for 2014.
To all cyclists, trail users, downtown residents and Switchback enthusiasts: thank you for your support and patience. This is a community effort that will result in a huge community asset when complete, one that will serve millions of trail users and, we hope, last for generations. We’ll continue to keep you updated on our progress. For breaking news, check out http://www.riverlifepgh.org.
Riverlife Communications Director