Pittsburgh to require ‘clean construction’ on Duck Hollow bridge project
Pittsburgh officials announced plans Thursday for a new $3.2 million bridge accessing the quirky riverfront neighborhood of Duck Hollow.
The city will require the contractor to abide by a long dormant “clean construction” ordinance.
The McFarren Street Bridge spanning Nine Mile Run provides the only access to Duck Hollow located along the Monongahela River across from Homestead. To reach the McFarren Street Bridge, traffic must pass under a railroad overpass that is too low for large vehicles to pass underneath, including fire trucks and emergency vehicles.
Residents have complained about the problem for years.
“I’ll believe it when I see it,” said Allen McKinney, 79, a lifelong Duck Hollow resident.
City officials said the new bridge would cross Nine Mile Run upstream from the railroad bridge. Construction is scheduled to begin in May and be finished by fall of 2020. Gulisek Construction Inc. is the contractor.
It will be the first time Pittsburgh is enforcing an ordinance approved by City Council in 2011 that essentially requires contractors to use equipment with particulate filters limiting the amount of diesel emissions. Under the legislation, any construction project funded by the city must follow the guidelines.
Rachel Filippini, executive director of the Group Against Smog and Pollution, said diesel pollution is a leading cancer risk in the region and can cause other ailments, including heart attacks, asthma, diabetes and premature births.
“We know that our dirty air makes people sick and shortens lives, and diesel emissions are one of the things contributing to our poor air quality,” she said. “Having the city take this proactive and tangible step to reduce air pollution is very important.”
Karina Ricks, director of the city’s Department of Mobility and Infrastructure, said new construction equipment is already built with the filters and the requirement would add “minimally,” if anything, to city projects.
“We want to use this as the way of saying we can have good strong economic development and we can have cleaner air in the process,” said Mayor Bill Peduto, who sponsored the clean construction ordinance while serving as a councilman.
Ricks said the old bridge would remain open during construction. The city will maintain it in the future as a “recreational bridge” open only for pedestrians and bicyclists, she said.
“It becomes a non-motorized opportunity that connects to the spectacular waterfronts and the trail network that we have there,” she said.
Bob Bauder is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Bob at 412-564-3080, [email protected] or via Twitter .