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Apollo bridge work remains on schedule

| Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2002

PITTSBURGH: Bidding and design work for a new Apollo bridge can continue while state environmental officials test for radioactive contamination around the site.

Officials from PennDOT said despite some borough council members concerns, the new bridge project is on schedule.

Bids will go out in December and construction should begin in the spring, according to PennDOT spokeswoman Valerie Peterson.

"We're still planning to go ahead with our regular schedule," she said.

Meanwhile, state Department of Environmental Protection spokeswoman Betsy Mallison said that agency will begin testing the area within a few weeks.

If no contamination is found, construction should begin as scheduled.

The only unusual aspect of this project will be a clause in bridge contract that will not allow construction to begin until the DEP test results are in, said Tom Brado, assistant district engineer for design.

Bids will go out in December and a contractor should begin work next spring, Brado said.

Construction should begin in late spring or early summer 2003 and the bridge should be open about one year later, Brado said.

The new Leonard C. Miller Bridge (named for the Apollo police officer killed in the line of duty in 1980) is expected to cost $5 million to $10 million.

It will be built just downstream from the existing bridge that crosses the Kiski River between Apollo and Oklahoma.

That bridge was built in 1937.

Because contamination from a former nuclear fuel facility in Parks has been found in several neighboring municipalities, some activists and Apollo council members worry construction of a new bridge could disturb more radioactive contamination.

DEP sampling of dirt from around the bridge should address those concerns, Mallison said.

"We're going to do some sampling at the bridge site, just to be sure there are no problems," Mallison said.

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