Work starts on Ohiopyle project |

Work starts on Ohiopyle project

Joe Napsha
Tribune-Review Photo
Falls on the Youghiogheny River at Ohiopyle State Park on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2018.

Work has started on a project to make it safer for the hundreds of thousands of visitors — bicyclists, hikers and boaters — who visit the 20,500-acre Ohiopyle State Park each year and cross Route 381 in Ohiopyle to see the falls and venture to the Youghiogheny River.

Plum Contracting Inc. of Salem Township has been cutting down trees at the park in preparation for the $12.4 million Ohiopyle Intermodal Project, said Valerie Petersen, a spokeswoman at PennDOT’s Uniontown office.

State, local and regional officials on Tuesday held a ceremonial groundbreaking in Ohiopyle for the project, which will involve several safety measures:

• Widening Route 381 towards the Youghiogheny River/Ohiopyle State Park visitor’s area so that sidewalks can be installed on both sides of the highway.

• Improved parking and pedestrian access on Route 381.

• Reconstructing the existing parking area to the south of Ohiopyle Borough and east of Route 381 to increase parking spaces.

• Constructing a new pedestrian underpass from the redesigned parking area to the park visitor’s center area.

• Replacing a superstructure on the existing Route 381 bridge over the Youghiogheny River.

Sugarloaf Road will be relocated slightly to the north so it parallels Negley Road, which will no longer intersect Route 381. That road will be retained as a parking area/staging area for use by the businesses that abut Negley Road.

“Transportation assets should meet community needs, and this is a great example of how we can support local economies and improve safety,” PennDOT Secretary Leslie Richards said.

The project is scheduled to be complete by Memorial Day 2020. To ensure the work does not interrupt the tourist business, Petersen said the contractor will not work on the job between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Ohiopyle is the state’s largest park and among the nation’s most heavily visited state parks, with about 1.5 million visitors each year.

Cindy Adams Dunn, secretary of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, said that DCNR had worked with PennDOT in the dedication of its Laurel Highlands Falls Area Visitor Center in June 2015. A $4 million grant from the Federal Highway Administration helped pave the way for much of that project, undertaken in close cooperation with PennDOT’s Byways and Recreational Trails Section.

Joe Napsha is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Joe at 724-836-5252 or [email protected]

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.