City to begin Greenfield Bridge demolition

By Lauren Rosenblatt / Assistant News Editor

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Pittsburgh’s Department of Public Works announced Tuesday it will begin its demolition and reconstruction of the Greenfield Bridge starting Friday.

Beginning 10 p.m. Friday, Oct. 16, the city will close the bridge connecting Alger Street in Greenfield to Overlook Drive in Schenley Park, a heavily trafficked route connecting Oakland to Greenfield and Squirrel Hill. Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, City of Pittsburgh and the Federal Highway Administration organized the $17.5 million reconstruction, which will not be complete until 2017.

The city will rebuild the bridge, originally built in 1921, in the same location, but with new abutments — structures to support the end of a bridge — piers and structural steel. The new bridge will include three travel lanes, for motor vehicles and sidewalks, just like the current one has, and will add a bike lane.

While the bridge will close to drivers starting Friday, pedestrians and cyclists can still use the bridge until Sunday, Oct. 18.

Mosites Heavy Construction Company will complete the construction.

According to Katie O’Malley, assistant communications manager for Mayor Peduto’s office, the city decided to replace the structure of the bridge because it is 94 years old.

“The bridge is structurally deficient,” O’Malley said. “It’s been a long-standing issue. We’ve known for a long time that the bridge needed replaced.”

The city will complete the first phase of the project — demolishing the bridge — by Jan. 3, 2016. The city will close part of I-376 between Dec. 26, 2015, and Jan. 3, 2016, to implode the bridge.

Pittsburgh Port Authority has already rerouted several routes that use the bridge, including route 52L Homeville Limited, 53L Homestead Park Limited, 58 Greenfield and 93 Lawrenceville-Oakland-Hazelwood.

To manage the travel restrictions and limit the disturbance to Pittsburghers, the Department of Public Works and Public Safety will hold regular meetings open to the public. The City of Pittsburgh and the Oakland Transportation Management Association has also set up a community outreach website where the public can ask questions and learn the progress of the project.

At 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 17, the Greenfield Community Association, an organization dedicated to improving the Greenfield community, will host Rock Away the Blues Bridgefest to commemorate the bridge’s history and showcase the area’s local businesses, according to the GCA website.

The new bridge will maintain the decorative urns and pylons, Patrick Hassett, assistant director of the Bureau of Transportation and Engineering, said in a release.

In the past, the city has made small improvements to the bridge to improve its infrastructure, such as adding netting and more structure underneath the bridge in 1990.

Councilman Corey O’Connor said this move is a sign of Pittsburgh’s positive improvement.

“When [Pittsburgh is]on ‘60 Minutes’ and people are talking about our crumbling infrastructure, and now you can look at us taking the lead and investing $17 million into revamping our infrastructure,” O’Connor said in a release. “Being able to get through this process is going to be pretty amazing. It actually shows how our city is moving forward.”

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