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Washington Boulevard to close briefly Tuesday for floodgate testing

Megan Guza
| Monday, Feb. 12, 2018, 11:36 a.m.
The floodgate at the intersection of Washington Boulevard and Allegheny River Boulevard.
The floodgate at the intersection of Washington Boulevard and Allegheny River Boulevard.

A portion of Washington Boulevard in Pittsburgh's Highland Park neighborhood will close briefly Tuesday morning while public safety officials test the road's floodgates, authorities said.

The test will shut down the road between Negley Run and Allegheny River Boulevard, according to Public Safety spokeswoman Alicia George. The test will begin at 4 a.m. Washington Boulevard will reopen no later than 5:30 a.m., she said.

The gates, installed by PennDOT following a flash flood in 2011 that drowned four motorists, use sensors to drop the gates when water rises on the road. Police can also activate the gates from the nearby Zone 5 station.

The city conducts periodic tests of the gates to ensure they are in working order.

The city completed $55,000 worth of repairs to the system in early 2017 after the gates failed to lower during strong storms the previous August and two motorists were stranded — one of whom had to be rescued.

The area where Washington and Allegheny River boulevards meet near the Highland Park Bridge forms a natural bowl that has produced potentially fatal flash flooding for decades. A female motorist drowned there during a 1951 flood.

Megan Guza is a Tribune-Review staff writer.

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