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Brady Tunnel Seeking Additional Grants, Groundbreaking Set for May 10
CLARION, Pa. (EYT) – Clarion County Commissioners Ted Tharan, Wayne Brosius, and Ed Heasley on Tuesday morning approved two resolutions to apply for additional funding for the $5 to $6 million Brady Tunnel Trail project, pending legal review.
(Photos courtesy Allegheny Valley Land Trust.)
The two grants being sought include a PA DCNR (Department of Conservation and Natural Resources) Round 25 grant of $500,000.00 with a 50/50 match (match already secured), and DCED (Department of Community and Economic Development) Greenways Trails and Recreation Program Grant for $250,000.00 (85/15 match).
Chris Ziegler, Executive Director of the Allegheny Land Trust, thanked the commissioners for their support but said “we’ll be back” with additional grant requests.
The Brady Tunnel opened in 1916 and operated as part of the Allegheny Valley Railroad network until 1989. Over the years, it has deteriorated and become unsafe for people to enter, but this DCNR grant will help significantly with restoring the tunnel’s structural integrity.
How much is the entire project going to cost?
“Until the engineering design is done, we won’t really have a number,” said Ziegler. “The feasibility study from about 2014 is about $6 million, but that’s treating every inch of the tunnel. We don’t have to do anything with the middle of the tunnel, and it’s in excellent condition. We’re probably closer to $5 million.”
Ziegler previously explained that the tunnel leads to a spur that goes off to the right and in a half mile connects with five additional miles owned by Allegheny Valley Land Trust on the other side of the tunnel. East Brady is a spur and that is the thruway that is on the main part of the Pittsburgh to Erie Trail. Ziegler said the tunnel is instrumental in the success of the Erie to Pittsburgh corridor. The project includes a liner about 750 ft. north and about 450 ft. on the south entrances,
“We’re looking at putting a bid package together ready for mid-April and a groundbreaking on May 10. We’re not going to sit around and wait. There’s other funding available from foundations that we will try and get to finish out the summer at the northern portal. A $3 million multimodal grant that we will be coming back to you for submission. That could take care of a big chunk of it.”
In a previous interview, Ziegler emphasized that she and her team are committed to restoring this historic piece of railroad infrastructure for the betterment of the East Brady community and its visitors.
“We have an obligation to honor our heritage and the men that built this tunnel by giving it a new life,” she explained.
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