Construction on Pittsburgh’s Charles Anderson Memorial Bridge project could begin as early as spring 2024, city officials said Monday.
The most recent project update indicates the design phase for the bridge should be completed by the end of this year. Construction is “anticipated to begin” next spring and is expected to take two construction seasons.
The bridge was closed in early February, after inspections showed the need for immediate repairs to the 85-year old steel deck truss bridge. The bridge carries the four-lane Boulevard of the Allies over a pedestrian trail and connects Central Oakland and South Oakland with Schenley Park.
The project predicts the removal of one inbound lane on the bridge to accommodate a bicycle lane. There would still be two outbound lanes of traffic with sidewalks on each side.
The scope of the project has also expanded from its initial plan to include the rehabilitation of the Panther Hollow Overpass, which sits just a few hundred yards from the bridge, next to the Schenley Pool.
The bridge crosses over the pedestrian trail and would still be safe for vehicles but would require a weight limit if not updated, officials said.
Combining both bridge repairs into one project means the road would only have to be closed once, Kim Lucas, the director of the Department of Mobility and Infrastructure recently told City Council.
After disputes over the funding, City Council approved a $3.1 million contract for the bridge project, which officials said could accelerate the construction timeline to begin at the end of March.
The city’s 2022 capital budget showed $6 million listed for repairs to the bridge, but that was not included in Mayor Ed Gainey’s budget. Mr. Gainey said that the $6 million was a “projection not an allocation” from former Mayor Bill Peduto’s budget.
Mr. Gainey also said funding for infrastructure projects in the region funnels through the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission, of which he sits on the executive committee.
The city’s Department of Mobility and Infrastructure submitted requests to the SPC and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to delay other projects so that the Charles Anderson Memorial Bridge project could receive funding sooner.
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