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Pittsburgh Officials Begin Needed Repair Work On Pair of Old Bridges

Thu April 27, 2023 - Northeast Edition #10
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Pittsburgh officials announced April 21 that construction projects at the Swindell Bridge and 30th Street Bridge in the western Pennsylvania city were slated to begin. The repair and renovation projects are being led by the Pittsburgh Department of Mobility and Infrastructure (DOMI).

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported that the 81-year-old Swindell Bridge, which connects Perry South and Northview Heights over Interstate 279, is undergoing a $540,000 project to restore deteriorated steel beams at the west end of the structure, where a lane restriction and two-way stop signs had been in place.

The bridge has been closed while a contractor installs temporary work platforms under the span and confirms the dimensions for the steel beam fabrication, according to DOMI. It will reopen for about two months while the steel beams are manufactured off-site before closing once again.

DOMI officials said that closure, tentatively scheduled for late June, will last about 28 days while crews install the beams.

The Tribune-Review learned that the work is designed to advance pedestrian safety and enhance accessibility for other road users by lifting the lane restriction and removing the stop signs.

A full rehabilitation project — which will include additional steel and concrete repairs, a new deck and full painting — will come later, according to DOMI.

Preliminary engineering work for the Swindell Bridge project is set to begin later this year. The full scope of work, its timeline, and budget will be determined through the design process, the agency explained.

In February, the Pittsburgh City Council approved a $1.2 million contract with HDR Engineering, based in the Steel City, to handle preliminary engineering design work for the larger project, which DOMI estimated would begin in 2027.

The 1,097-ft.-long span closed briefly for repairs last summer after city officials were alerted to debris falling from the bridge to the highway below while crews were performing maintenance work, including milling and resurfacing.

The Swindell Bridge first opened in 1930 and is currently used by about 5,700 vehicles a day, according to records kept by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT). The structure was recently rated in poor condition in a comprehensive bridge report commissioned by Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey and released last December. The study rated the bridge's superstructure as being in serious condition, one step down from poor condition.

Rehab of 30th Street Bridge to Last Until October

The 30th Street Bridge, which spans the Alleghany River and serves as the primary way to access Washington's Landing, is due to get $1.84 million worth of repairs. The construction that began in the last full week of April will replace the expansion joints, install a new Latex Modified Concrete overlay on the deck, repair sidewalks and railings, and update the structure's lighting.

The bridge deck is rated in poor condition, and nearby residents have pushed for years to have it repaired.

During the first phase of the project — expected to run through July 5 — the sidewalk will be closed. Pedestrians and bicyclists are being detoured across the Herr's Island railroad trestle trail bridge at the southwest end of Washington's Landing.

There will be no vehicle access between River Avenue and 30th Street and the intersection with Pennsylvania Highway 28, the 31st Street Bridge or Rialto Street.

DOMI said all vehicles will need to detour along River Avenue to General Robinson Street to Pa. 28. A temporary traffic signal will be in operation at River Avenue and 30th Street while traffic is reduced to a single lane.

Construction on the 30th Street Bridge is expected to last through early October and be finished before the Head of the Ohio Regatta, according to the Tribune-Review.

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