Duncan Ave. project in Hampton gets lift from crane
By Deborah Deasy
Published: Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013, 9:01 p.m.
Using hand signals and a 300-ton crane, crews recently pieced together the spine of a new bridge for Duncan Avenue motorists.
“Amazing,” Duncan Avenue resident Vern Miller said last week as the crane's operator slowly lowered a section of the bridge — suspended from steel cables — onto a pair of concrete tracks in a canyon beside the Easy Trip gas station on Route 8.
“I thought it never would get done,” said Miller, watching the new bridge take shape.
“This is something everybody should see,” Miller said. “You're watching history.”
Semiretired chemical engineer Tony Wierzbowski of the Devlin's Point apartment complex also marveled at the crane in action.
In the span of two days, the crane installed an approximately 80-foot culvert with 21 sections of precast concrete.
“For an old guy like me, it's interesting,” Wierzbowski, 69, said as the crane lifted a 55,000-pound section of concrete into midair. “If there's a crane, we flock to it,”
Civil engineer Andy Banfield of the PVE Sheffler engineering firm in Franklin Park described the crane operator's skill as “unparalleled.”
“Crane operators are very important,” said Banfield, manager of the Duncan Avenue bridge-replacement project.
Gary Metzinger, general contractor for the project, said it cost about $20,000 to rent the crane and hire its operator — Rich Lawson of Perryopolis, Fayette County — through ALL Crane Rental of West Elizabeth.
Last week, an estimated two dozen people showed up during a three-day period to watch Lawson operate the towering crane at Duncan Avenue and Route 8.
Crane operators such as Lawson earn about $34 per hour, according Jason Wellington, operations manager at ALL Crane Rental of Pennsylvania, a division of ALL Erection Corp. of Cleveland.
“There's a lot of responsibility,” Wellington said. “You're dealing with large equipment. In a heartbeat, something easily could go wrong.”
After the crane departed, Metzinger's crew began the final task of filling in the 16-feet deep gully surrounding the new culvert.
During heavy rains earlier this year, project manager Banfield noticed less flood-like conditions downstream as a result of the wide canyon created for the new culvert.
“We really achieved something here,” Banfield said.
In addition to reducing floods, the new culvert will form the replacement bridge for an unsafe, 95-year-old span that crews removed months ago.
“It's going to be a safer bridge,” Banfield said.
To drivers, the new bridge will appear as a short stretch of new road at the east end of Duncan Avenue, near the gas station.
“We can't wait until it opens, to get business back,” local property owner Ed Graswick said.
Graswick and his wife, Nancy, own the Schoolhouse Salon beside the bridge-replacement project, which closed the intersection of Duncan Avenue and Route 8 in April. “We lost money,” he said.
Last week, Metzinger said it probably will take another four to six weeks to complete the project.
Deborah Deasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6369 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- All that Jazz Shaler North Hills Library hosting concert
- Student activity fee at Pine-Richland could be raised
- Hampton considers adding guidance counselor at high school
- Annual North Hills Interfaith Gathering to celebrate different traditions
- Hampton woman, Aspinwall man team to help small businesses succeed
- West View schedules neighborhood cleanup day for April 26
- Hampton, Pine, Richland named Banner Communities
- Pine-Richland officials look to improve curriculum consistency
- Shaler sets summer paving plan
- Franklin Park man presents program that examines seedier side of Hollywood
- Vincentian Academy looks at expansion plans