Recreational Rail-Trail, part of Westmoreland Heritage Trail (WHT)
Runs along Corridor of the Former Turtle Creek Industrial Railroad
September 30, 2017 was the Grand Opening for 5.9 miles of the Turtle Creek Extension of the Westmoreland Heritage Trail! This segment runs from just beyond B-Y Park in Trafford to the Roberts Trailhead/Parking Lot in Murrysville. Construction of the trail from Murrysville to Export is planned for 2018 or early 2019.
Development of the Turtle Creek Extension of the WHT
In November 2015, a 9.2 mile +/- segment of the Turtle Creek Industrial Railroad corridor running from Trafford to Export was acquired for its conversion to a recreational rail trail. Westmoreland County Parks and Recreation is building the trail, which will become an extension of the WHT that presently runs from Saltsburg to Athena Drive in Delmont.
Funding for acquisition of the rail corridor included:
- A December 2013 DCNR award of a grant of $457,000 to Westmoreland County.
- A December 2013 award of a $250,000 grant from a private foundation. A May 2014 award of another $250,000 grant from the private foundation.
- A June 2014 award of a $126,000 grant from the Redevelopment Authority of Allegheny County / Community Infrastructure and Tourism Fund (toward the 1.3-mile segment of the Turtle Creek (TC) railroad corridor in Monroeville).
- Substantial local contributions, including those made during Westmoreland County's annual March For Parks.
Funding for design and construction of the trail from Trafford to the "Roberts Parcel" in Murrysville:
- A 2014 award of $1M of PA Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) funding.
- A 2015 award of $800,000 of additional PA TAP funding from the Southwest PA Commission and PennDOT.
- A January 2016 DCNR award of $500,000.
Sponsors of individual bridges' reconstruction:
- Bridge near Trafford Road - Pat and Lynn Gurrentz
- Bridge near Sportzone - Rodger and Joan Gurrentz
- Bridge near Marlee Acres - Sisters Megan Kelly Bethel, Mary Katrin Kelly McCusker, and Bronwyn Kelly Sodrosky
- Bridge near Rivertowne Brewery - Peoples Gas
- Substantial local contributions, including those made during Westmoreland County's annual March for Parks.
Funding for construction of the trail from the "Roberts Parcel" to Export:
- A January 2017 award of $1M of additional PA Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) funding.
In 2017 construction of the trail from Trafford to Murrysville was completed, and Monroeville and Murrysville developed
The Turtle Creek Industrial Railroad caboose has been renovated as a historical resource/visitors center, and is situated on a siding in downtown Export.
This trail is an exceptional recreational amenity for the towns along its route. Ongoing efforts related to the trail include:
- engaging volunteers
- raising and securing funds for further extension of the trail
- conservation efforts along the Turtle Creek Greenway
- encouraging compatible, pedestrian and bike-friendly development in the trail's towns and communities.
The Turtle Creek Extension of the WHT is envisioned as the anchor of the Turtle Creek Greenway, for which the Turtle Creek Greenway Plan has been developed to support and advance conservation measures along the Turtle Creek riparian corridor.