Photo courtesy of Carnegie Borough.

The Panhandle Trail could soon grow by more than two miles.

Carnegie officials are gauging public support for a proposed project that would extend the Panhandle Trail, a 29.2-mile pathway that runs from Collier Township to Weirton, W.Va.

Map of the proposed Panhandle Trail extension.

Following a Genesee & Wyoming Railroad right of way, the proposed 2.27-mile extension would stretch from Walkers Mill in Collier Township to the Port Authority West Busway Carnegie Station and end at the Port Authority Bell Avenue Station.

Since announcing the idea on Jan. 6, the borough has received more than 300 online letters of support from individuals, community groups and local businesses. Letters will be accepted through the end of March.

Carnegie Administrative Assistant Deneen Underwood, who is working with officials in Scott and Collier, says the addition would help revitalize the borough’s West Main Street business district and Irishtown neighborhood. In addition, it would promote health and wellness and create a green infrastructure that will preserve the Lower Chartiers watershed, wildlife and plants.

The project would require railbanking track that hasn’t been used in more than a decade. Railbanking is a method by which rail lines authorized for abandonment can be preserved for future rail use through an interim function as a trail.

If approved, the extension would run parallel to Port Authority’s Carnegie West Busway Station, which is being redesigned to include a parking garage, retail space and the Third Street development.

(Get an aerial view of the route in the video below.)

A trail extension feasibility study is funded through a $30,000 grant from the Active Allegheny Grant Program (AAGP). The Redevelopment Authority of Allegheny County launched AAGP to provide financial assistance to municipalities and governmental councils to develop community plans that provide bicycle and pedestrian connections to important local destinations and transportation systems and that increase residents’ opportunities for physical activity.

Kristy Locklin is a North Hills-based writer. When she's not busy reporting, she enjoys watching horror movies and exploring Pittsburgh's craft beer scene.