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Kick-off for construction at Hoover-Mason trestle

By Will Lewis, Reporter, WLewis@wfmz.com
Published On: Sep 18 2013 04:59:39 PM CDT
Updated On: Sep 19 2013 07:45:08 AM CDT

Kick-off for construction at Hoover-Mason trestle

BETHLEHEM, Pa. -

Bethlehem's been trying for awhile to revitalize its south side.  Now a major piece of the puzzle is falling into place.

What officials call the "spine of the Steel Stacks campus" is getting a major make over.

At one time the Hoover-Mason trestle carried raw material to the blast furnaces to make steel. 

Now it's being made into a walkway that will be a path for millions to get from the Bethlehem Visitors Center on the Steel Stacks campus to the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem.

The Hoover-Mason trestle hasn't been used since 1995.

Since then, Mother Nature has taken over the tracks where Bethlehem Steel workers once transported raw materials to the blast furnaces.

"I think it's important for us to respect our past, to celebrate the 100 years of steel making history in this community but equally important is build a bridge to our future," said Bethlehem Mayor John Callahan.

City officials say the new pedestrian promenade will be that bridge.

It will be 2,000 feet and have 35,000 square feet of walkway space.

It will be a walk through history as people travel from the visitors center to the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem.

"It's a really unique opportunity to do a historic interpretation of the site and allow people for the first time ever, this is a location that has really only been reserved for steel workers in the past," added Callahan.

The $11 million project will allow people to get close to the massive blast furnaces, and they will also see the rail cars that helped make the steel for many structures in the world.

Construction is expected to be complete in a year, but the hope is to have a piece of the walkway ready in August.

"Just the idea of opening the Hoover-Mason Trestle on the eve of Musikfest and having the opportunity for having upwards of million people to come through this site in a ten day period is something I don't want to miss," said Callahan.

Different community organization are helping with the historical aspect of the pathway.

City leaders say they can't wait to unveil the finished product to the public.