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Rankin Bridge opening ends Kennywood traffic headaches

| Monday, May 2, 2011

With the Rankin Bridge completed, there will be no more traffic headaches or detours for those heading to Kennywood.

'We are very excited about how much easier it`s going to be for our guests to get to and from Kennywood,' said Jeff Filicko, spokesman for the West Mifflin amusement park set to open this Saturday.

Though Kennywood representatives posted alternative routes to get around the bridge work the past two seasons, traffic jams on Route 837 were common during the park`s opening and closing times.

The increased traffic was worst when the underpass on the Whitaker side of the Rankin Bridge was closed and all traffic going towards the Steel Valley area was detoured through the juncture of the bridge and Route 837.

'It was a project that desperately needed to be done,' Filicko said.

He said any problem guests had getting to Kennywood the past two seasons should be eliminated.

The $48 million Rankin Bridge rehabilitation was officially completed on April 11.

'The overall project is done,' said Doug Aiken, manager of Allegheny County Public Works Construction Division.

'There will be no more lane restrictions as a result of the project.'

He said crews are removing construction materials now.

The project began with prep work in June 2008. Rehabilitation work and major traffic restrictions began in January 2009.

Rehabilitation work by contractor Michael Baker Jr. Corp. included widening lanes, installing new lighting and traffic lights, and creating a new sidewalk.

'The project went well,' Aiken said. 'We had a good contractor. It was a big disruption of traffic.

'I think the final project was worth the two years it took to get a full rehabilitation.'

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