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Officials Celebrate Launch Of Crosstown Blvd. Cap Project To Connect Hill District And Downtown

Kathleen J. Davis
90.5 WESA
Pittsburgh politicians, developers and others shovel ceremonial dirt to signal the groundbreaking of the I-579 cap project.

Pittsburgh politicians and developers gathered Friday for a ceremonial groundbreaking on a cap over I-579. The project, headed by the Sports and Exhibition Authority, will connect the Hill District with the Central Business District downtown after years of discussion.

The three-acre capwill be a physical bridge over Crosstown Boulevard. Developers say it will be a public park with pedestrian paths, bike routes and green stormwater management. This is part of a larger effort to redevelop the space around the former Civic Arena site, which is now mostly parking lots owned by the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Credit Laquatra Bonci Associates
Rendering of three-acre park that will cover the crosstown boulevard near downtown. Construction is estimated to be completed during the summer of 2021.

"This isn't about a park, this is about a complete development that benefits all people, especially the residents that reside in the Hill District," said U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle, a Democrat from Forest Hills.

City Councilor Daniel Lavelle, who represents the Hill District and Downtown, apologized to Hill residents on behalf of city governments past who were responsible for the widespread displacement of residents decades ago.

"This is our first step forward in righting the wrongs that occured in the '50s and '60s," Lavelle said. "This is the first step forward in ensuring that the world class development that the Penguins are planning is going to be for all of us."

Construction is expected to begin at the end of June and last through November 2021.