O'Hara man's contracting company creating foundation for bridge on Duncan Avenue
O'Hara businessman Gary Metzinger started out cutting grass at St. Ursula Church in Hampton.
Decades later, Metzinger is back on Duncan Avenue — cutting a canyon — and affecting the daily commutes of motorists.
Metzinger's company — Gary Metzinger Cement Contractor — is excavating the canyon, a 16-foot-deep-by-70-foot-wide gully, to build the foundation for a new culvert to channel Gourdhead Run under a new bridge for Duncan Avenue motorists near the road's intersection with Route 8.
The intersection closed April 22, forcing drivers to find a detour during the bridge replacement project.
“I feel sorry for anybody that's put out, but if you don't (replace the old bridge) and it collapses, somebody could be killed,” said Metzinger, 61. “The (bridge) deck was bad.”
Metzinger expects the new bridge and culvert — an 80-foot span of precast concrete — to arrive in early August.
He also expects to rent a 350-ton crane to install the CON/SPAN unit.
“Gary not only has a good reputation, he has done two other CON-SPAN units for the township — on time, I might add,” said Hampton Township manager Chris Lochner.
Metzinger installed the other CON/SPAN units on South Pioneer and North Pioneer roads.
Last month, Hampton Township accepted a bid from Metzinger to do another local project — repair work to fortify the foundation of a bridge on Clearview Road near Route 8.
Married 37 years, Metzinger and his Italian-born wife, the former Laura Calandra of Highland Park, have two children, Daniel, 27, of Shaler, and Alissandra, 28, of O'Hara.
Metzinger, also a graduate of St. Sebastian School in Ross, grew up watching contractors build the Vienna Woods housing plan where he once lived in Shaler. He is a 1971 graduate of Shaler High School.
“I always liked construction,” he said. “I remember one bricklayer. He'd take me along when he had to pick up sand.”
Metzinger also remember going to a small, nearby store to buy sodas for the construction workers, and then returning the bottles for a deposit, which he used to buy candy.
“I started cutting grass and branched out from there,” said Metzinger, whose first cement projects included residential sidewalks. He said he learned from his brother-in-law, who worked in the construction field.
Metzinger attended the Community College of Allegheny County but withdrew to start his own business.
Metzinger rembers getting a municipal contract in Ford City, Armstrong County after he won a coin toss with another contractor, who tied Metzinger's bid to replace a few blocks of sidewalks.
“We flipped a coin and I won,” Metzinger said.
Deborah Deasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6369 or firstname.lastname@example.org.