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Crews pave way to rebuild Hulton Road bridge

| Monday, July 18, 2005

The first in a series of construction projects to rebuild bridges and sections of the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Oakmont is set to begin.

Construction crews are preparing to rebuild the Hulton Road bridge that carries drivers over the turnpike near the Oakmont-Plum line. A new, longer bridge is needed the turnpike at that point will become two lanes wider next year, turnpike spokesman Joe Agnello said.

Replacing the bridge, which is expected to cost $4.8 million, will take a little more than a year, Agnello said.

The new bridge will still be two lanes wide, but those lanes will be widened.

"Expect the Hulton bridge to get done in late 2006, and then you won't see anything happen until after the golf tournament," he said.

Oakmont Country Club is scheduled to host the U.S. Open in 2007. Once the tournament ends, turnpike crews will begin a $125 million project to widen the turnpike and rebuild the 55-year-old bridge over the Allegheny River.

Crews will build the replacement bridge next to the existing bridge, allowing traffic to move over the old bridge during construction.

The Hulton Road bridge can't be rebuilt this way, and turnpike officials expect the road will be closed for some periods, Agnello said. Detours will be posted.

The work could make getting out of Plum more difficult. Plum drivers trying to go through New Kensington already have to contend with a $7 million reconstruction of the Parnassus Triangle near the Logans Ferry section.

Drivers likely already have seen construction work near the Hulton Road bridge. The Oakmont Water Authority is removing an old water main that crossed under the turnpike and replacing it with a temporary line above ground. Once the new bridge has been completed, the authority plans to install a new permanent water main on the bridge, manager Jack Dunlap said.

About 17,000 vehicles cross the bridge each day. PennDOT expects that number to climb to more than 22,000 a day in the next 20 years.

The three-phase improvement project is necessary to update the turnpike, Agnello said. Turnpike officials estimate drivers will take about 200 million trips on the toll road next year -- double the number in 1992.

Wynne Everett can be reached at weverett@tribweb.com.

Additional Information:

Timetable

The schedule for work on Hulton Road and the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Oakmont:

  • Replacement of the bridge on Hulton Road will begin in late August.

  • The Pennsylvania Turnpike between the Allegheny Valley exit and the Oakmont service plaza will be widened next summer.

  • The turnpike bridge over the Allegheny River will be replaced in 2007.

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