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Bridge replacement projects in A-K Valley sticking to schedule

| Sunday, July 20, 2014, 12:01 a.m.
Erica Dietz | Valley News Dispatch
A worker for Brayman Construction Inc. gets a lift at the site of the new Hulton Bridge between Oakmont and Harmar on Monday, July 14, 2014.
Erica Dietz | Valley News Dispatch
An employee for Brayman Construction Inc. continues working at the site of the new Hulton Bridge between Harmar and Oakmont on Monday, July 14, 2014.
Erica Dietz | Valley News Dispatch
A worker for Brayman Construction Inc. finishes another day at the site of the new Hulton Bridge between Harmar and Oakmont on Monday, July 14, 2014.
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
Construction signs are posted along the detour for Route 51 at West Carson Street on the West End on Sunday afternoon, June 29, 2014.

Among this summer's many road projects in the Alle-Kiski Valley are two major bridge replacements that are running on schedule, PennDOT officials say.

Work is going as expected on the cloverleaf bridge carrying Route 366 over the Route 56 Bypass in New Kensington and the Hulton Bridge connecting Harmar and Oakmont over the Allegheny River.

Plus, drivers shouldn't have to spend too much time waiting in the work zones.

PennDOT project manager Dan Bartko said there has been little impact to traffic during the Route 366 bridge replacement, which started in April.

“We will always maintain two lanes of traffic through the project,” Bartko said.

The only closures are planned for up to 16 nights over the next several months, including two tentatively scheduled for this week. During those nights, Route 56 will be closed in the work area and a detour used.

The official PennDOT 25-mile detour will use Routes 366, 780, 380, 66, 356 and 56. However, residents are likely to use local roads such as Craigdell and Leechburg in New Kensington and Lower Burrell.

Crews plan to install the new bridge's beams this week. The project is expected to be completed in May.

Hulton Bridge work continues

PennDOT spokesman Steve Cowan said traffic impact from the Hulton Bridge construction has been minimal, but that will change next year.

“Motorists should see limited restrictions until the approach work and bridge tie-ins occur in the summer of 2015,” Cowan said.

Because a new bridge is being built, drivers will continue using the existing bridge until the end of the project next year.

The project is about 35 percent complete and on schedule, Cowan said.

This summer, crews are working on the third and fourth piers and second abutment; the first two piers and first abutment are completed. Abutments support the bridge on each end, and the piers support the middle. Part of the bridge's steel superstructure has been erected as well.

The $64.8 million project that began last fall includes roadway reconstruction on Freeport and Hulton roads, signal improvements, lighting, new signs, curbs and sidewalks, pavement markings and utility relocation. None of that work has started. Cowan could not provide a timeline for it.

The bridge hasn't been rehabilitated since the 1990s and is being replaced for major structural deficiencies, Cowan said.

The expected completion date is October 2015.

Route 28

The five-year, $120 million reconstruction of Route 28 into a free-flowing expressway without traffic lights at bridges is nearing completion.

PennDOT officials said the project is on schedule to finish by the end of November — but not before more lane shifts.

In mid-August, crews will eliminate the construction configuration that splits inbound traffic and will shift those lanes together against a retaining wall, Cowan said.

“Motorists had to decide which lane to take, and it was tricky for people unaware of (the configuration),” Cowan said.

PennDOT will reopen the East Ohio Street on-ramp to northbound Route 28, but will simultaneously close the outbound ramp connecting 28 to the Veterans Bridge for repairs as part of the final $15.4 million phase. Cowan didn't know how long the ramp would be closed.

Because this part of the work hasn't been scheduled, Cowan could not provide a timeline for the final steps. He also didn't have an idea when they would be scheduled.

“Because the project's going to be finishing in November, they're going to need to do that sooner rather than later,” Cowan said.

Staff writer Bobby Kerlik contributed to this story. Emily Balser is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-226-7710 or ebalser@tribweb.com.

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