Appalachian Trail to Get a First: A Highway Underpass in Pa.

Fri August 29, 2008 - Northeast Edition

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) The Appalachian Trail is getting something new along its 2,175-mi. route from Georgia to Maine — a highway underpass in south-central Pennsylvania.

The trail crosses Wertzville Road in Cumberland County’s Middlesex Township in a slight depression, with rises on both sides that hide approaching traffic. So, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is building an underpass to make the crossing safer.

It’s the first highway underpass on the trail, according to Karen Lutz, Middle Atlantic regional director for the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.

The conservancy five years ago identified 30 highway crossings where safety is a concern. Two others are in Pennsylvania, at Route 30 in Franklin County and at Route 248 in Lehigh County.

Lutz said the Wertzville Road crossing is the most dangerous of the three, and many hikers avoid the section of trail.