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Public Works to Host Meeting about Upcoming Greenfield Bridge Closure, Implosion

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An estimated 19,000 vehicles cross the Greenfield Avenue Bridge each day, but commuters will have to find a new route later this year.

That’s because the bridge is being demolished and the replacement won’t be open until 2017. Prep work for the demolition is expected to begin in in mid-October.

The City’s Department of Public Works is hosting a public meeting Tuesday in which officials will reveal the new bridge’s official design.

“But more importantly to discuss the schedule of construction and how we’re going to go about constructing the bridge and outline for them some of the detour options that are available,” Patrick Hassett, assistant director, said. “And also discuss the implosion and what that’s going to mean for the immediate area.”

According to Hassett, the Parkway East (I-376) will close down most likely on midnight Christmas day for the bridge’s implosion.  The contractors, who will be chosen in July, will have five days after the implosion to clean and prepare the road for travel again.

He said they plan to work closely with the contractors to minimize the impact of the implosion on the surrounding areas.

“They will be doing a structure-by-structure survey of the buildings prior to the implosion so as to have a record of what those structures were like, and if there were any damage to occur because of the implosion, they would be able to confirm that with their bonding company,” Hassett said.

He added that the contractor will be fully insured to cover any damages done as a result of the demolition.

Hassett said the Department of Public Works held a general public meeting last January in which the department heard feedback from the public – most of which has been mixed.

“They do recognize that this bridge needs to be rebuilt – visibly, it’s in very poor condition as well as structurally it’s in poor condition and in need of replacement – it’s not unsafe, but it’s clearly beyond repair,” Hassett said. “The hard part of it is doing without this bridge for 18 months – that’s going to be painful.”

More than 90 years old, the bridge underwent rehabilitation in the ‘80s, and an “under-bridge” became necessary in 2004 to catch falling debris.

Some components of the old bridge will be preserved for use on the new one according to Hassett. But he added that this bridge does not meet the current standards, so most of it will be new.

“Some of the new features we’re adding include replication of stone walls and the abutments…we’re putting in new historic street lighting, and we’re bringing back what’s called the brush finished look to the parapet (railing) of the bridge,” Hassett said.

Jess is from Elizabeth Borough, PA and is a junior at Duquesne University with a double major in journalism and public relations. She was named as a fellow in the WESA newsroom in May 2013.
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