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New Trafford Veterans Memorial Bridge officially opens

| Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013, 6:14 p.m.
PHOTO BY RUDY SRDOCH
The first cars go over the Trafford Memorial Bridge on Oct. 17, 1964.
Kim Stepinsky | for the Tribune-Review
U.S. Marine Corps Vietnam War combat veteran Barney Yourkin (right), standing on the Trafford Veterans Memorial Bridge, prepares to play taps with the 980 Plum American Legion Honor Guard (from left), George Pasvantis and Charles Gilkey during a community celebration of the dedication ceremony of the Trafford Veterans Memorial Bridge on Saturday morning, October 26, 2013, in Trafford.
Kim Stepinsky | for the Tribune-Review
The Penn-Trafford Warrior Marching Band is the first group to march across the Trafford Veterans Memorial Bridge, during a community celebration of the dedication ceremony of the bridge on Saturday morning, October 26, 2013, in Trafford.
Kim Stepinsky | for the Tribune-Review
A large crowd of residents from Trafford and nearby communities gather at the Trafford Veterans Memorial Bridge during a community celebration of the dedication ceremony of the bridge, on Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013, in Trafford.
PHOTO BY RUDY SRDOCH
Crowds await the opening of the Trafford Memorial Bridge on Oct. 17, 1964.

The new Trafford Veterans Memorial Bridge officially opened to traffic on Saturday in a dedication ceremony attended by hundreds of residents.

The 960-foot span represents “a gateway to Trafford from the west,” Trafford Borough Council President Richard Laird said.

The bridge is the third to carry Route 130 across Turtle Creek between Allegheny and Westmoreland counties. The first, constructed of wood and steel, was completed in 1902 and replaced in 1964 with a concrete span.

As the second bridge deteriorated and became structurally deficient, weight restrictions were added and the need for a replacement grew.

“There's a lot of competition to get state money for big projects like this, and not everybody gets that and gets those projects even though there's plenty of need,” said Rep. Joseph Markosek, D-Monroeville, former chairman of the state Transportation Committee. “We were very fortunate at that time that we were able to get the money set aside to do this project.”

Laird lauded Markosek's work to secure state money for the new bridge project as well as the work of Mackin Engineering Co., which designed the bridge, and Mosites Construction Co.

Work on the $11 million project began in April 2012 and forced drivers to detour through Trafford and onto Forbes Road for the past 18 months.

“It's been a little inconvenient, but it hasn't been all that bad as far as I'm concerned. It was well worth the wait,” Laird said.

The project was tabbed for completion by the end of November but finished ahead of schedule and below budget.

“I'm pleased to say today that we're actually about a month ahead of schedule on this one,” said Bill Kovach, PennDOT District 12's assistant executive for construction. “We're happy with that.”

PennDOT estimates the bridge will carry an average of 10,850 vehicles per day, and 13,200 per day by 2031, Kovach said.

Trafford Mayor Rey Peduzzi honored the town's veterans during the bridge dedication. The previous bridge had been designated Trafford Veterans Memorial Bridge in 2010, and the new bridge will carry the same name.

“In the 104-year history of Trafford, hundreds of Trafford residents have served in the armed forces of the United States of America, some during periods of armed conflict, some during periods of peace,” Peduzzi said.

“But they all had one thing in common: As they left Trafford and left their civilian life to join their military life, they crossed the bridges of Trafford,” he said. “Many returned and resumed their normal life; however, 38 residents never returned alive to Trafford.”

Trafford officials hope the new bridge will help prompt growth in the community.

“I hope our next project will be to revitalize the business district of Trafford,” Laird said. “This bridge is like a new door on a house.”

“Sometimes you have to make some sacrifices and you have to invest some money, but I think we are on the way to tremendous years ahead,” Peduzzi said.

Greg Reinbold is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-459-6100, ext. 2913, or greinbold@tribweb.com.

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