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Leaders weigh in on Greensburg Pike Bridge closure

| Thursday, Oct. 31, 2013, 2:16 a.m.

Business and community leaders raised concerns about costs associated with the yearlong closure of the Greensburg Pike Bridge at a public hearing on Wednesday.

Attendees told Allegheny County officials who are overseeing the $16.2 million project on the span that links North Versailles Township and Turtle Creek that the closure, which begins on Monday, will have a negative impact on their bottom lines.

“For me, financially, it's a killer,” said Bob Coddington, who owns Splish Splash car wash in North Versailles, about 300 feet from the bridge. Coddington said traffic will drop from about 7,000 cars a day that pass his business to essentially none, He asked county planners if they could shorten the closure time.

The county is replacing the old bridge with a four-span, 663-foot steel girder bridge, which basically is completed. Planners said the existing bridge, constructed in 1925, must be closed while a new retaining wall and lanes leading up to the new structure, and other utility projects, are completed.

County construction manager Mike Dillon said the period can't be shortened because of the retaining wall and anchoring system. Some of the anchors will have to be drilled under the roadway and may go as deep as 80 feet, he said.

Because of the complexity of the wall and safety issues related to its construction, Dillon said it would not be safe to have traffic using the bridge while work is ongoing.

Once work on the North Versailles side of the bridge is finished, Dillon said traffic should start rolling on the new bridge by November 2014, even as crews continue to tear down the rest of the old span.

Turtle Creek council president Nick Bianchi said the closure will necessitate an adjustment to borough traffic signals to accommodate changing traffic patterns.

“Is the county willing to help in providing that adjustment?” Bianchi asked planners.

Bianchi said he doesn't think modifying traffic signals will present a big expense for his municipality, but asked that the county “help us out a little bit here.”

A project official told Bianchi he could write to the county to ask for assistance on defraying costs.

Planners said the county would help shoulder the cost of extra police on both sides of the bridge the first week of the closure so that they can direct confused motorists to the detours.

The county is putting up signs before the closure to alert drivers that nearby businesses remain open.

Dillon assured residents who live near the bridge that snow removal by county trucks would not lessen during the closure.

“We'll make sure that the road is cleaned,” he said.

Greensburg Pike connects Route 30 just west of the East McKeesport business district to Turtle Creek. It runs past the Great Valley Shopping Center and the Wal-Mart Supercenter, then connects with Monroeville Avenue.

One detour takes traffic via Fifth Avenue in East McKeesport to the Patton Street Bridge and the Tri-Boro Expressway — Route 130 — in Wilmerding.

The other takes motorists on Route 30 across the Westinghouse Bridge into East Pittsburgh, where they can link up with Linden Avenue, Electric Avenue and the Tri-Boro.

Eric Slagle is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161 ext. 1966, or eslagle@tribweb.com.

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