Update: Montgomery County has announced that the trail will be conditionally opened on the weekends of April 26-27 and May 3-4 (walk bikes through the construction zone). The trail will then be paved and re-open permanently on May 10.
Since January 27 the section of the Schuylkill River Trail between Ross St and Ford Rd in Norristown has been closed due to construction of the Lafayette Street Extension Project. Our assumption was that the trail between those two streets was closed but that access to Ross St from the trail was not affected since the County's trail closure information on their website did not mention that this access point was also severed. However we found out the hard way (from a frustrated trail user) that in fact Ross St was also closed by the construction.
The closure of Ross St entrance changes the alternate routing options dramatically; the nearest access point on the trail, Ernest Station Rd, is about two miles away by road. However, while Ernest Station Rd is not closed to traffic, it is privately owned and therefore the County determined that there was no short and safe on-road detour for the trail.
The trail was scheduled to be reopened later this month, but the unusually harsh winter has set back much of the work. We are awaiting an update from the County on a new target reopening date. Meanwhile if you are determined to ride between Philadelphia and Valley Forge (or beyond) be prepared to take the roads or use the once-per-hour SEPTA Regional Rail service between Conshohocken Station and the Norristown Transportation Center (website). Note that on April 5th and 6th train service between Conshohocken and Norristown will be replaced by bike accessible shuttle buses.