Tribune-Review: 3 major Pittsburgh bridges set to get $132M in renovations

Millions of dollars in federal funds will go to help repair and upgrade three major Pittsburgh bridges, federal and state officials announced Thursday.

A total of $132 million will help repair steel components, joints and bearings on the McKees Rocks, West End and Fort Duquesne bridges, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Scranton, said. The work will enhance the spans’ structural integrity and longevity, and provide better driving conditions for motorists.

“The infrastructure law is making Pittsburgh’s many bridges safer for the thousands of residents, commuters and travelers who rely on them every day,” Casey said. “When we improve the condition of our bridges, we strengthen the region’s economy and make the City of Bridges easier to navigate.”

State lawmakers also lauded the new funding.

“Pittsburgh is the City of Bridges — they knit together our neighborhoods, as local residents go to and from school, work, shopping and civic events,” Lt. Gov. Austin Davis said Thursday during a press event in Pittsburgh. “More infrastructure spending equals more jobs — good-paying, family-sustaining jobs. We’re proud to stand with our union brothers and sisters, who are working hard to rebuild Pennsylvania.”

“My administration has a GSD attitude — we’re getting stuff done for the people of Pennsylvania,” Gov. Josh Shapiro added.

Structural issues with dozens of bridges led Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey to commission a report in 2022 calling for increased focus on the problem. Gainey unveiled his plans for a new Comprehensive Bridge Asset Management Program in the wake of the Fern Hollow Bridge collapse in the city’s Frick Park in January 2022.

Since President Joe Biden signed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act into law in November 2021, officials have allocated $13.8 billion for more than 300 projects in Pennsylvania, including more than $8 billion for roads and bridges, and more than $1 billion for high-speed internet.

The law, which Casey voted to support in 2021, directly funds work on the McKees Rocks and Fort Duquesne bridges projects.

The McKees Rocks Bridge is set to receive $25 million, the West End Bridge will receive $47 million, and the Fort Duquesne Bridge will get $60 million.

In addition to those projects, the Wildwood intersection on Route 8 in Hampton will receive $4.5 million, state officials said.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation will make what Casey called “critical repairs” to the bridges. The $132 million in federal funds also will enable PennDOT to reallocate existing funding to additional bridges in Pittsburgh and across the state, according to Casey’s office.

State funding has helped to repair 74 bridges and 7,011 miles of roads in Pennsylvania, Shapiro said.

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