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Mating season of two peregrine falcons puts hold on repaving of Tarentum Bridge

Bill Shirley | For The Valley News Dispatch
Traffic moves across the Tarentum Bridge on Monday, April 29, 2013.

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By R.A. Monti and Brian C. Rittmeyer
Tuesday, April 30, 2013, 12:21 a.m.
 

Not even the completion of a major road construction project can stand in the way of true love.

PennDOT is delaying the repaving of the Tarentum Bridge until this summer so it won't interfere with the mating season of two peregrine falcons that make their home there, PennDOT spokesman Steve Cowan said.

Repaving the bridge is the last step in PennDOT's $7.7 million project to revamp about two miles of Route 366 between Fawn and New Kensington.

“According to our project manager, the majority of the 366 project was completed last year,” Cowan said. “The only work remaining is the paving of the Tarentum Bridge, which will take place after August 1st due to the nesting season of the peregrine falcons living under the bridge.”

The paving will be completed on two weekends, Cowan said.

“The contractor will have one weekend for each side of the bridge to detour traffic,” he said. “The dates have not been scheduled at this point.”

The project, started in June, included the building of a new roadway between Tarentum Bridge and Fawn and added new turning lanes at the East 10th Avenue intersection to alleviate traffic congestion.

The endangered falcons successfully nested under the bridge last year for the first time. The birth of two chicks were the first confirmed peregrine falcon births in the Alle-Kiski Valley in recent history.

According to the Pennsylvania Game Commission, the Pennsylvania Endangered Species Act and the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act protect the birds, nesting or otherwise.

Hulton Bridge project

There's another major road project folks in the Alle-Kiski Valley should be on look out for this year, Cowan said.

“The Hulton Bridge project will get under way this year,” he said. “Obviously this will be a large ongoing project.”

PennDOT announced last month that the 102-year-old bridge, which connects Hulton Road in Oakmont and Freeport Road in Harmar, will be replaced.

The $80 million project is set to begin in August.

The bridge was rated as one of the worst bridges in Pennsylvania, according to PennDOT records. It carries about 20,000 vehicles every day but only rates a 3 out of 100 in terms of efficiency.

The new bridge will be four lanes and have a pedestrian walkway.

R.A. Monti is a freelance reporter for Trib Total Media. Brian C. Rittmeyer is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4701 or brittmeyer@tribweb.com.

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