In the summer of 2014, French Creek Valley Conservancy (FCVC), contacted us regarding an opportunity to purchase the “Black Bridge,” as it is known to locals. This historic steel bridge in Erie County was identified in a 2013 study as a potential link in the Pittsburgh-to-Erie Trail, as part of a 10.4 mile connector between Spartansburg and Corry.
The bridge is part of a 17.9-acre property purchased by FCVC (a PEC partner) for its conservation and land protection value. However, the seller planned to dismantle the bridge for scrap metal, which would have required trail developers to build a new bridge in the future to carry the trail over active rail lines. The seller was willing to sell the bridge to FCVC, but the timeline for completing the transaction was tight.
PEC is thrilled to have been able to identify and allocate funding to FCVC to allow them to secure the bridge for future trail development.
Reusing this existing structure will save tens of thousands of dollars in trail development costs, preserve a historic structure, and save valuable materials and energy. Funding is currently being secured to complete an engineering study of the bridge, which will allow it to be upgraded for trail use.
Learn more about the Erie-to-Pittsburgh trail at http://eriepittsburghtrail.org. Visit www.gototrails.com to see plans for trail development throughout the region, and to play with our interactive mapping tool.