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Saw Mill Run Boulevard Bridge could stay closed for up to 12 more weeks

Katie Blackley
90.5 WESA

The Saw Mill Run Boulevard Bridge, used by buses and light rail cars, is expected to remain closed for 10 to 12 more weeks. The Port Authority of Allegheny County announced Tuesday repairs could cost at least $2 million.

The 1,052-foot bridge carries the South Busway and the light rail’s Red Line over Saw Mill Run Boulevard in Mt. Washington.

The bridge closed Feb. 4 after an employee noticed that part of the bridge’s surface appeared to have expanded. Engineers later determined that the bridge shifted several inches.

A rapid freeze-thaw cycle was to blame for water dripping into part of the bridge’s support structure. When temperatures dropped again the water froze, and shifted the structure, according to the agency.

The bridge remains stable and does not threaten motorists below on Saw Mill Run Boulevard, according to Port Authority.

Over the coming weeks, crews will lift the 600,000-pound bridge back into position, replace bearings, anchor bolts and portions of concrete. The final timeline and cost will depend on weather conditions and the availability of supplies, according to Port Authority.

The closure has had a significant impact on the light rail’s Red Line commuters.

Red Line travelers have been re-routed along the Blue Line and will continue to be during the closure. Bus and rail shuttles run every 20 to 30 minutes — a rail shuttle between Overbrook Junction and Potomac station, and a bus shuttle from Potomac Station and Station Square — and can be ridden for free.

Kiley Koscinski covers city government, policy and how Pittsburghers engage with city services. She also works as a fill-in host for All Things Considered. Kiley has previously served as a producer on The Confluence and Morning Edition.