A new Hulton Bridge, which connects Harmar and Oakmont, opened Tuesday afternoon after a celebratory ribbon cutting.
Construction on the 4-lane bridge began in September 2013. It cost $65 million and replaces a 2-lane 109 year-old- bridge over the Allegheny River.
“We worked hard to minimize disruption during this project and the new bridge meets the needs of motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists,” PennDOT District 11 Executive Dan Cessna said.
State and local leaders including Governor Tom Wolf and Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald were also in attendance.
The new structure is approximately 1,600 feet long and 69 feet wide and will carry two 11-foot lanes of traffic in each direction with a six-foot shoulder. Governor Wolf said this wider bridge will be an asset to the region.
“It does bridge these two sides of the river and that’s a good thing for the people of both sides. Its also a great thing for the businesses. Its going to be easier and faster to get up to the turnpike and that makes a really big difference,” he said.
Improvements include wider shoulders for safe bicycle travel and an improved walkway for pedestrians, according to State Representative Frank Dermody, (D-Allegheny).
“For more than a century the Hulton Bridge has been a vital link in the Allegheny Valley,” said Dermody, an Oakmont resident. “The new bridge means greater safety, smoother traffic flow and a better quality of life for thousands of people in the valley.”
The bridge consists of 12 million pounds of structural steel. The river span was assembled off-line, on a barge and then swung into place, hooked into lifting cables and then placed. Then ten thousands bolts secured that structure in place.
Steve Muck, CEO of Brayman Construction, which erected the new bridge, said he hopes it has a long life as well.
“It (the original Hulton Bridge) was built for foot traffic and horse and buggies. I don’t know whether we can outdo that with this new structure,” he told the crowd.
The old Hulton Bridge, which is known to nearby residents as the "lavender link" because of its color, is parallel to the new bridge and will be demolished next year.