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Development & Transportation

Pittsburgh Commuters Warned Frick Building Inspection Could Affect Downtown Traffic For Weeks

Bill Gardner
90.5 WESA
A 1,300-pound piece of granite broke off the top cornice of the Frick Building in Downtown Pittsburgh on Sunday.

City officials are taking extra precautions during inspections of the Frick Building this week after a 1,300-pound chunk of granite crashed onto Grant Street early Sunday morning.

Pittsburgh’s Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich said Tuesday that commuters should plan to leave early for work, because traffic patterns will continue to be affected.

“What we’re looking at optimistically is to get one lane open on Grant Street by Thursday morning rush hour,” Hissrich said. “The rest of the roadway is going to be closed until further notice. This could take weeks.”

Southbound lanes of Grant Street and Forbes Avenue will be closed during construction of a containment wall beside the Frick, said Licenses and Inspections Department Director Maura Kennedy.

Kennedy said they will also extend scaffolding from the side of the Frick Building up to its cornice. Once the wall is in place, Kelley said traffic restrictions will ease.

There's still no timeline for the wall or broader Frick Building repairs, Hissrich said.

“It will continue to be a great expense,” said Guy Costa, the city's chief operations manager. "The fortunate thing is that nobody got injured and killed.”

In addition to repairs, the city will pay for police officers to patrol the area and engineering costs related to any additional structural vulnerabilities.

Both Costa and Kennedy said they are waiting for the engineer’s report to see if the owners of the building failed to follow any of the city’s maintenance standards.

Hissrich urged citizens to respect the barriers and not walk under police tape.

“We still have people going through the barriers; I witnessed it this morning,” Hissrich said. “All it takes is just one piece falling from 250 feet to injure or kill someone.”