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Brady Tunnel Rehab Eyes 2024 Completion

Sunday, November 19, 2023 @ 12:11 AM

Posted by Ron Wilshire

chris-Ziegler-at-Commioners aaEAST BRADY, Pa. (EYT) – The light is getting brighter at the end of the Brady Tunnel rehabilitation as it moves into the final phase and edges toward completion.

(Pictured above: Chris Ziegler, Allegheny Valley Land Trust)

“The bid results came in, and we need a motion to accept and sign the contract,”  Chris  Ziegler of the Allegheny Valley Land Trust told the Clarion County Commissioners last week.

“Then, we’re getting ready to issue a notice to proceed on the DCNR funding side. We got the same contractor, Francis J Palo, Inc., a Clarion County contractor who has done every tunnel project phase, and we are pleased about it.”

Palo, at $1,377 million, was the low bidder, followed by Allison Park Contractors, Inc. ($1.466 million), Swank Construction Company, LLC ($1.845 million, and CriLon Corporation. ($2.257 million).

“They (Palo) do exceptional work,” Ziegler said. “They take pride in what they do, and it’s not a bad gig in the middle of the winter to be in a tunnel that’s 55 degrees.

“The construction period is about 120 days for each phase. I believe they’re running them simultaneously. So, 120 days from notice to proceed, the tunnel should be open and ready to go.”

East Brady Tunnel

The first phase of converting the former railroad line into a walking trail started in 2019, and Ziegler estimates the total project cost at almost $6,830,500.00.

The 36-mile-long Armstrong Trail is located on the former Allegheny Valley Railroad line along the eastern bank of the Allegheny River in Armstrong and Clarion counties.

“COVID, in the first phase, did play a factor in not getting done sooner. If  COVID hadn’t happened, it would’ve been done a year and a half ago and cost about $2,000.00 less. But, it is what it is, and here we are, and it’ll be open in 2024.”

According to Ziegler, the PennDOT portion is a bit lower than anticipated. The steel price happened to be down that day, and the supplier passed that savings along to the Allegheny Valley Land Trust.

“We should be able to do lighting and asphalt on the inside, which we thought we had to pull out because we figured they would come in high. The price difference from phase one to phase three pre-COVID, post-COVID is huge.”

The PennDOT part of this phase is 320 feet of the liner, and DCNR funding will cover 50 feet of the liner, drainage footers, and shotcrete, where they spray the concrete on the joints of the ceiling.

Ziegler said that people sacrificed much to complete the original Brady railbed back in the day.

“We heard there were four deaths, and there were also four murders,” said Ziegler. “The murders apparently happened in Shantytown, and women were murdering men.”

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