PennDOT inspects Fort Duquesne Bridge after concrete chunks fall |

PennDOT inspects Fort Duquesne Bridge after concrete chunks fall

Paul Guggenheimer
Traffic moves along the Fort Duquesne Bridge between Downtown and the North Side in June 2016.

PennDOT officials conducted an emergency inspection on the Fort Duquesne Bridge after pieces of concrete fell to the ground on the North Shore on Tuesday.

The pieces, measuring between 6 and 10 inches in diameter, did not damage anything.

PennDOT District 11 Executive Cheryl Moon-Sirianni said the bridge is safe.

One fell at the intersection of Tony Dorsett Way and North Shore Drive and the other landed on a parking garage driveway on Reedsdale Street, Moon-Sirianni said. She said additional inspections will be performed next week to remove deteriorating concrete.

“There’s a minimum of 2 inches of concrete required on the bridge deck to cover the reinforcement bars and that’s the concrete that’s falling off,” said Moon-Sirianni. “The bridge is safe. If we see that there’s concrete falling off at a more rapid pace, then we will do emergency repairs like we do on all of our bridges when we have concerns.”

Moon-Sirianni said she doesn’t anticipate the need for any work that would interfere with rush-hour traffic and that any emergency repairs would likely occur during off-peak hours.

Lou Ruzzi, PennDOT’s district bridge engineer, said that eventually the deck will need to be replaced, most likely in the next decade.

Construction on the Fort Duquesne Bridge wrapped up in 1963 but due to delays in acquiring right-of-ways, the northern approach ramps were left incomplete, earning it the nickname “Bridge to Nowhere” until it was finally finished in 1969.

The concrete was only expected to last 40 to 45 years, meaning it has outlived its anticipated lifespan. The inspection schedule for the bridge will be changed from once every two years to every year, according to Moon-Sirianni.

Paul Guggenheimer is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Paul at 724-226-7706 or [email protected].

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