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Rachel Carson Bridge To Close Until 2020 For Rehab

Gene J. Puskar
Bridge inspectors check the structural integrity of the Rachel Carson Bridge in Downtown Pittsburgh, Tuesday, June 4, 2013. The bridge will close Feb. 11, 2019 until the summer of 2020.

The Rachel Carson Bridge, also known as the Ninth Street Bridge, will close Monday, Feb. 11 through the summer of 2020, according to the Allegheny County Department of Public Works.

Michael Dillon, deputy director of engineering and construction, said the rehabilitation project will be both structural and aesthetic. Plans include new sidewalks, updated drainage systems and steel reinforcement. Similar to what was done on the Andy Warhol Bridge, or Seventh Street Bridge, a lane restructuring will turn four lanes into three with wider shoulders.

The project will also include a full repainting of the bridge in the distinctive Aztec Gold colorand restoring the bridge’s street lamps, which reflect the span’s history.

“We researched lighting that would be present around the time of the bridge being opened in 1926, and it will be more architectural in style,” Dillon said.

The Rachel Carson Bridge is part of the trio of Sister Bridges connecting Pittsburgh's North Side to Downtown. The bridge was renamed for environmentalist and marine biologistRachel Carson in 2006.

The $23.3 million rehabilitation is funded by PennDOT, the Federal Highway Administration and Allegheny County. The last time the bridge underwent construction was in the 1990s; Dillon estimates this is its third or fourth rehab.

The final phase of the three-part Sister Bridge update will be to the Roberto Clemente Bridge, or Sixth Street Bridge, between the summer 2021 to the winter of 2022.