Nonprofit: Don’t forget aesthetics in Brewery Bridge redo
Officials with the nonprofit Latrobe Community Revitalization Program hope there will be an allowance for aesthetics when new side barriers are installed as part of a replacement of the Brewery Bridge on Ligonier Street in 2021.
Executive Director Jarod Trunzo said the nonprofit is working with Latrobe and Westmoreland County officials to come up with a barrier or railing design that will be pleasing to residents and motorists without being cost-prohibitive.
Initial discussions occurred Thursday in the city municipal building during a display of project plans for the county-owned span that crosses the Loyalhanna Creek.
“We’re just hopeful that we’re not going to have straight (concrete) barriers,” Trunzo said. “We’re hopeful there’s possibilities out there that would be within the budget and would be safe and structurally sound without blocking the view of the Loyalhanna.”
“That’s a heavily used bridge,” said Jim Okonak, board treasurer for the revitalization program. “People from outside the community and people going to the hospital use it.”
County engineer Vaughn Neill said an estimated project cost isn’t yet available, but he indicated federal funds should cover 80 percent of the bill, with the county picking up the remaining share.
Peter Molnar, project engineer for county consultant Markosky Engineering of Ligonier Township, said northbound traffic headed from downtown Latrobe to the city’s North Side and Excela Latrobe Hospital will be maintained throughout work on the bridge, which is expected to be completed within a single season.
There will be a two-mile detour for southbound traffic, following Second Avenue, Garfield Road, Unity Street, Lloyd Avenue and Main Street.
To keep northbound traffic flowing, work will be limited to one lane at a time, Molnar said. Work will occur on the downstream lane during the project’s first phase and will switch to the upstream lane in the second phase, according to project plans.
Pedestrian traffic across the bridge also will be maintained.
The project will affect access from Ligonier Street to the City Brewing Co. plant, located immediately to the south of the bridge. But, Molnar pointed out, the brewery also can be reached from Jefferson Street.
Since construction is two years away, there is plenty of time to get the word out about the detour, said Michael Gray, interim city manager. He said project officials are “willing to work with us, putting out as much signage as we need.”
Markosky is working to complete the project’s preliminary design. Advertising for construction bids should occur in late June 2020, Molnar said.
Electric lines that are in close proximity to the bridge will have to be “de-energized” when new bridge beams are being placed during construction, but Molnar said the interruption will be brief and shouldn’t create service outages because of redundancy in West Penn Power’s transmission system.
The project also will replace the bridge deck and parapets, which were reconstructed in 1974, along with sidewalks.
The contractor will rehabilitate the bridge’s reinforced concrete abutments and support piers while completing drainage improvements and minor reconstruction of roadway approaches.
Molnar explained a causeway will be constructed in the creek to accommodate cranes and other equipment needed for construction. Pipes will allow water to continue flowing through the creek, but anyone wanting to kayak through the area will have to take their craft out on the north side of the bridge, upstream from the construction work, and relaunch it downstream from the project.
The work isn’t expected to affect the annual Loyalhanna Sojourn paddling trip from Latrobe to New Alexandria, since the event begins downstream from the bridge, at Latrobe’s Cardinal Park.
Molnar said Latrobe Municipal Authority has asked that the bridge project include replacement of an out-of-service water pipe that fell from the span into the creek.
The bridge, which dates from 1935, has had a weight restriction of 35 tons — 40 tons for combination trucks — since 2013. No restrictions will be necessary once the replacement is complete, Molnar said.
Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jeff at 724-836-6622, [email protected] or via Twitter .