Trail Tunnel Gets $2 Million to Complete Passage

Thu February 27, 2003 - National Edition

MEYERSDALE (AP) Federal funds have come through to restore the Big Savage Tunnel, a vital portion of the Great Allegheny Passage biking and hiking trail from Pittsburgh to Washington, D.C.

The 3,300-ft.-long tunnel near Deal received a $2-million infusion from the National Park Service, U.S. Rep. John Murtha announced recently. The federal money filled a critical funding gap for the $12-million restoration project.

Construction has already begun on the tunnel, which is the biggest remaining project on the Great Allegheny Passage. The tunnel — which opens a passage through rugged mountains in southwestern Somerset County — needs new walls and ceilings.

The Great Allegheny Passage will connect with the 184-mi. C&O Canal Towpath in Cumberland, MD, creating a 336-mi. route from Pittsburgh to Washington’s Georgetown neighborhood.

The state has already committed $9 million to the Big Savage Tunnel while trail advocates are raising the remaining $1 million.

“We’re thrilled that the National Park Service is recognizing that this trail has national significance that justifies such a large grant,” said Allegheny Trail Alliance President Linda McKenna Boxx.

A 1-mi. section from the tunnel to the Maryland state line remains unfunded.