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Disruptions will be part of Bigelow, Baum boulevards project

| Tuesday, June 23, 2015, 11:21 p.m.

About 60 residents crowded into a first-floor conference room at the Courtyard Marriott on Liberty Avenue on Tuesday night to learn more about a construction project along Route 380 that will rebuild a major thoroughfare and force detours for thousands of commuters in Bloomfield, Oakland and Polish Hill.

PennDOT District 11 officials conducted a public meeting about the $12.34 million road reconstruction project for the corridor of Baum Boulevard, Bigelow Boulevard and the Bloomfield Bridge between Morewood and Herron avenues. Restrictions and detours will be in effect this summer and next as the project commences.

Construction is anticipated to begin at the end of June and wrap up in August of 2016.

The crowd groaned and sighed upon learning of the long detours that will be in place, starting with a 44-day closure of the eastbound off-ramp from Bigelow Boulevard to the Bloomfield Bridge.

Residents expressed concern about additional traffic on residential streets, as well as construction traffic and vehicle parking. Others suggested installing more sidewalks or extending the project scope.

“You're re-routing traffic past my business,” said a man who identified himself as plumber and business owner along Baum Boulevard. “How are my 20 trucks going to get in and out of my business?”

Jim Foringer, a deputy executive with PennDOT District 11, said the scheduling is aggressive to avoid long-term woes.

“We're going to cause a disturbance,” Foringer said. “We want to make sure that disturbance is at least-inconvenienced as possible, but we do realize when we have detours and lane restrictions, it causes a lot of concerns with everyone.”

Public information requests are being handled through the Oakland Transportation Management Association. Contractors include Swank Construction Co. and Gibson Thomas Engineering.

Upon the project's start, crews will excavate and replace the full depth of concrete from the eastbound off-ramp to the Bloomfield Bridge to the Baum Avenue Bridge over the PAT Busway. Plans include reconstruction of the bridge deck and then milling and resurfacing from the bridge to Moorewood Avenue.

Throughout the one-mile project, crews will rebuild crumbling curbs, install ADA sidewalk ramps and upgrade traffic signal upgrades and pavement markings.

Construction will suspend from December 2015 through February 2016. Next summer will include replacement of the Baum Boulevard bridge deck, which will require detours in both directions.

Melissa Daniels is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-8511or mdaniels@tribweb.com.

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