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Brookline Boulevard paving project finally finished

| Thursday, July 24, 2014, 10:40 a.m.
Guy Wathen | TRIB TOTAL MEDIA
Brian Katze, manager of the special events office for Pittsburgh Citiparks, arranges oversized scissors before a ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrating the completion of a project remaking the boulevard through the Brookline business district on Thursday, July 24, 2014.
Guy Wathen | TRIB TOTAL MEDIA
Father Frank Mitolo, left, pastor of Resurrection Parish in Brookline, recites a blessing for Brookline Blvd. and the surrounding community as Mayor Bill Peduto, middle, and councilwoman Natalia Rudiak, right, bow their heads following a ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrating the completion of a project remaking the boulevard through the Brookline business district on Thursday, July 24, 2014.
Guy Wathen | TRIB TOTAL MEDIA
Patrick Hassett, City of Pittsburgh Department of Public Works assistant director, takes a photo of Brookline Blvd. prior to a ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrating the completion of a project remaking the boulevard through the Brookline business district on Thursday, July 24, 2014.

Pittsburgh City Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak said her office received “countless” complaints about potholes, noise, traffic and other headaches during the $5.35 million rehabilitation of Brookline Boulevard.

The city's largest public infrastructure project officially ended on Thursday with a dedication of the new thoroughfare. Residents and business owners were overjoyed.

“Whew!” said Lois McCafferty, a longtime neighborhood resident and member of the Brookline Chamber of Commerce who shepherded the project for years. “I'm very glad it's done.”

The 17-month project included 4,800 tons of asphalt; 8,400 square yards of sidewalk, including 1,400 square yards of decorative exposed aggregate; 27 traffic signal supports; installation of a traffic signal system; 48 ornamental light poles; new trash receptacles; 23 benches; eight bicycle racks; 175 feet of stainless steel railing; 55 trees, including 19 Brandywine Red Maples, 17 Accolade Elms, 10 Spring Snow Crab Apples and nine Japanese Lilacs; and a total of 950 plants and shrubs.

Residents complained for months about having to navigate wooden ramps to reach stores; noise from pavement milling that kept them awake at night; and the lack of parking. “Today, we can enjoy the peace and quiet. We can enjoy the smooth street,” said Rudiak of Carrick, who represents Brookline.

Mayor Bill Peduto said the project languished for years because the city couldn't afford it.

“This was a project that had sort of been waiting in limbo,” he said.

About 4,000 vehicles travel daily on the boulevard, which was resurfaced from Pioneer Avenue to Starkamp Street.

Firdaws Musah, who was working behind the counter at Daree-Salam African Market, said the business had to close for one day during construction and put up with dirt and parking problems.

“It was bad in the beginning, but after that it wasn't bad,” she said. “Now it's beautiful.”

Bob Bauder is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-765-2312 or bbauder@tribweb.com.

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