Mon Wharf Switchback update from Riverlife
Two weeks ago, I rode to the bottom part of the switchback. I can’t attach the picture, but there was a large chunk of the wharf that was missing, right before the entrance to the ramp. I wonder if that has been refilled…
I have a feeling that it’s not going to be an August opening at this point. I’m hoping soon.
The Mon Wharf Switchback is getting there. I tried to post pics that Riverlfife took yesterday, but this site kept telling me there was an error. Tried 3 times. Here is the link to the page- http://riverlifepgh.org/riverfront-guide/mon-wharf-switchback/
I didn’t realize it before, but it looks like from the photo captions, they are adding a kayak launch near the bottom of the new switchback ramps! Great to see more water access as well!
Does anyone know why the mon wharf switchback has been taking so long to complete? What is the expected opening before the snow falls?
These projects take a long time. It looks deceptively simply to build a ramp. It’s a lot of work. I’m sure it’ll be done before snow falls
Did anyone get a photo of the project during the high water yesterday? At 27 feet, a good bit of the lower structure and of course the entire wharf would be underwater.
I hope the project isn’t going to be delayed by the storm.
I’m sure it’ll set it back the few days if the rain/flooding stopped work on it. But it was engineered to withstand occasional floods, I’m sure, so I don’t think this is a major setback.
I rode by to check out the ramp again today. The water has receded and there doesn’t appear to be any damage. There is a couple inches of mud covering the surface of the lowest portion but that’s not concerning. It’s routine to spray off the riverfront sidewalks after flooding. It looks like the site was prepped beforehand, with material, gear and a portajohn moved to higher ground part way up the lower ramp.
Hopefully the saturated ground won’t delay finishing of the warf where the ramp lands. It’s hard to confirm when covered by a layer of mud but i don’t think the warf paving stones stretched that far up river. There is probably some paving left to do. Handrails are still yet to be installed.
Well, doesn’t look like it’s opening in September. I rode by last night and it seemed relatively complete with the exception of handrails being installed. Hopefully, the flooding will hold off and they can finish this up soon!
Soooo, looking ahead to when this opens, who’s going to clear the snow off the ramp?
Or you could contact the council person’s office for downtown about that and maybe get them to plan for it.
Vegas bookies project opening in 2020, based on state getting the Connector built.
They cut the railing on the bridge end of the ramp! There was a guy installing lugs for bollards or a gate or something in the opening. Looks like all the railings on the ramp are done. Won’t be long now!
I saw them too, asked if they had the inside scoop on when it’ll be open, but they said they didn’t know.
Not sure, the worker I asked didn’t seem very interested in chatting. I’ll definitely be riding by after work to see what progress they made today.
I emailed. The response:
Eric, thanks for your email. We’re all very eager to get this project open as soon as possible, but we do not have an estimated completion date yet. We are still waiting for a component to be manufactured and installed. As soon as we have a date, we will post it on our website and social media. Thanks for your patience.
There’s a lot talk/speculation about the Mon Wharf Ramp .. when it will open, etc… which appears imminent… indeed, it has appeared imminent for a long time :-) …
In any event, in case you weren’t aware of it, the trail along the Wharf is a mess. I’m not just talking about mud and the need for a good sweeping when the Ramp is open, but structural issues; like worn out grouting, large gaps where there were, I think, small drainage grates or expansion joints, … and the need for a curb cutout on the State Park end, etc.
If these aren’t addressed, I figure the opening will be plagued with discomfort and criticism…
[And then there is the question of the status of the State Park entry. What? When? Will that entrance be closed during construction? These questions will surely come up once the Ramp is opened. (There was even a rumor? that the ramp wouldn’t open until the State Park end was complete…and that’s why the Ramp is taking so long…it is purposefully being dragged out..)…]
Grant Street Crossing
The Grant and Eliza Trail crossing button is located very inconveniently…I’ve crossed there often and recently was the first time I noticed it. It’s bad enough for pedestrians…but as one needs to traverse cobblestones, it is quite treacherous for cyclists…
And I won’t startup about the trail markings and signs/poles across Grant from there…where the trail is shown to coincide with the traffic signs…oh there I go… :-| ….
… Am I making any sense? If so, can this be corrected and who do we contact?
[Don’t get me wrong, I greatly appreciate all the work being done along the trails.]
Thanks for listening
Thanks for your email.
The Mon Wharf Switchback is nearly complete and we want to get it open as soon as possible. The rumor that we’re waiting to open it until the Point State Park Connector is built is a real head scratcher. Our objective is to get the switchback open for pedestrians/cyclists as soon as we can – it wouldn’t make sense to build it and then have it sit there, unused, for a lengthy period while the other end’s connection is built. We want people to be able to access the Mon Wharf via the ramp as soon as it is safe to do so, even if the improved connection into Point State Park on the other end isn’t complete (with signage marking trail detours and ADA routes planned during construction on that end). As for the PSP connection, that project is being managed by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. The park rangers should have the most up-to-date information about their timeline for that project.
As Riverlife has reported before, the Switchback is almost complete but we are waiting on a small but critical component to be fabricated and installed. This component attaches the ramp to the Smithfield Street Bridge. The fabricator and contractor have varied in estimating the fabrication and installation timeline, which is why we have not had any specific dates to share thus far. We are cautiously optimistic that it could be any day now.
We are aware of the numerous issues with the Mon Wharf Landing trail and are hoping they will be addressed in between the flood cycles. We have had maintenance conversations with the two main site stakeholders DPW and the Parking Authority, and the Parking Authority has pledged to replace the drainage covers that floated away leaving the ruts across the trail. The Parking Authority has also come up with a solution for the curb/drainage channel on the Point State Park end, which they assured me will be implemented soon.
Regarding Grant Street Crossing, the crossing signal is located where it is to tie into the existing electrical pole/infrastructure. We had a minimal budget for this project and I’m sure you can imagine how costly it would have been to dig up/extend the electrical to get it two feet closer to the entrance to the crosswalk. The placement is not ideal, but we had to work with the site conditions. As for the green markers, when you refer to “corrections” what do you mean? PennDOT would not allow us to move their red “Do Not Enter” signs or other highway signage, so we had to design a solution that marked the trail and worked around the existing auto signage. From many trail user accounts, the green signs and poles have made the entrance to the bike/ped flyway much more visible. You can see before and after photos here: http://riverlifepgh.org/ riverfront-guide/grant-street- crossing/
With all these improvements, we have to have patience. We are a small nonprofit working on other people’s property, with slim budgets and minimal site control. I appreciate the patience of the trail community and their excitement and enthusiasm for the improvements. Here at Riverlife we cannot WAIT to get the switchback open after having raised funding, permitted, designed and constructed it over almost a decade. It has been a challenging project but well worth it, and I’m hoping we can celebrate this new public connection together very soon.
Can we use baling wire and duct tape to make a temporary installation of the “small but critical part”?
Of course. All problems can be temporarily fixed with duct tape.
Some years ago I took a Greyhound bus to Latrobe. We pulled out of the Greyhound terminal in downtown Pittsburgh 30 minutes late, with the driver griping loudly that the bus hadn’t been prepped by maintenance so he had to clean it himself.
A loud banging from the back started once we got on the highway. The driver pulled over, got out, and after a while reported that the engine cover on the back of the bus wasn’t latching, but he had applied duct tape to secure it temporarily.
Ten minutes later, the banging resumed. The driver pulled over again and applied more tape. This continued every ten minutes until I got off in Latrobe, with the bus by that point 70 minutes behind schedule. The driver said he’d be able to switch to a different bus once he reached Philadelphia. I wonder now if he had enough duct tape to make it.
My Grumman canoe has seen a lot of whitewater, and there are leaks around some of the rivets in the hull. Every year or two we put fresh duct tape on these spots and we’re good to go for a while.
- This reply was modified 7 months, 1 week ago by MaryShaw.
I went by the switchback this morning and noticed that the LED lights were on. So at least that’s working…
From a Doug Riegner FB post: opening Dec 4th
Official communique from DOMI:
Come one, come all to the new Mon Wharf Switchback Ramp! After years of tireless work we are extremely pleased to announce the opening of this multi-modal connector that links Downtown Pgh to the Great Allegheny Passage. Thanks to all who contributed to this huge effort! pic.twitter.com/zAg5wy00F5
— Pittsburgh Mobility & Infrastructure (@PghDOMI) November 21, 2018
From the PG story on this:
“That trip will be even easier in the future when the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources finishes a planned $1.8 million upgrde to the connection with the park. That project, which will improve a narrow, secluded path between the park on the wharf, could begin construction in 2019.”
This sounds real, but I haven’t heard anything else on it. Have you?
People have been asking how to get from Point State Park to the Smithfield Bridge switchback ramp and vice versa. Here’s how, via the Mon Wharf Wormhole
From the bottom of the Smithfield switchback ramp, continue along the river on the bike/ped esplanade. You will have to shift over into the parking lot at some point. The best place is after the boat ramp (marked by white stakes in the water) and before the empty bridge pier. There’s a set of metal bollards and no curb not too far before you get to the bridge pier. Beyond here, there is a curb with no curb cut and there are several hazardous open trenches (Parking Authority is said to be working on this). Continue to the end of the parking lot. There is an unpromising walkway next to the retaining wall with (high overhead) a sign “Walkway to stadiums”. Go up this. It is pretty narrow, but it works. You come out in the maintenance area behind a big blue dumpster. Continue into the park
Starting from the Point, go upstream along the Mon River on the bike/ped esplanade near water level, or from the main part of the park head past the museum toward the Mon. As you approach the Ft Pitt Bridge, enter the maintenance area. Continue under the Ft Pitt Bridge. You will probably see parkway traffic going past ahead of you. Spot the big blue dumpster to the right of the traffic and head for it. At the back of the big blue dumpster, between the dumpster and a “no left turn” sign, is a narrow walkway. The walkway is separated from the highway traffic by a jersey barrier. You’re safe from traffic on the river side of the jersey barrier. Go down the walkway to Mon Wharf Parking. Switch over to the bike/ped esplanade along the river when you find a place without a curb (this will get you past the open trenches) and continue to the switchback. I annotated photos to help explain this, but I have not been able to upload photos here for a long time (involving mulitple browsers and reboots) — the photos are on my Facebook feed.
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