By SUSAN JONES
In January 2019, a Pittsburgh city official told a University Senate committee that the rehabilitation or reconstruction of the Charles Anderson Bridge on the Boulevard of the Allies was looming in the future since the span had already been deemed structurally deficient.
Karina Ricks, then-director of Pittsburgh’s Department of Mobility and Infrastructure, told the committee that the design process on the cantilever truss bridge would proceed carefully, looking at whether rehab of the historic bridge were possible, but she said, “It’s not looking so great right now.”
Four years later, the bridge, which crosses Junction Hollow into Schenley Park and is a key route into Oakland, was closed abruptly on Feb. 1 because it needs immediate repairs before it can safely carry vehicles again, Mayor Ed Gainey said in a statement. The bridge remains open to pedestrians and bicycles.
After the collapse of the Fern Hollow Bridge in Squirrel Hill last year, Gainey made a pledge that he would not hesitate to close bridges.
The Charles Anderson Bridge was completed in 1940 and has long been a source of concern. Before it was closed, the bridge had weight restrictions because of structural issues. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has rated the condition of the bridge’s deck as fair and the superstructure and substructure as poor.
Repairs on the bridge will take at least four months, the mayor’s office said, and cost between $1 million and $2 million. This is just a stopgap measure. The bridge is already slated for a full $48 million rehabilitation, with design presently underway, the mayor’s office said, and Department of Mobility and Infrastructure staff are looking into ways to speed up the project.
The suggested detours for vehicle traffic:
Eastbound/outbound: Boulevard of the Allies, right onto Bates Street, left onto Second Avenue, left onto Greenfield Avenue, left onto Ronald Street, right onto Alger Street, left onto Greenfield Bridge, to Greenfield Road, to Panther Hollow Road
Westbound/inbound: Panther Hollow Road, to Greenfield Road, to Greenfield Bridge, right onto Alger Street, left onto Winterburn Street, right onto Greenfield Avenue, right onto Second Avenue, right onto Bates Street
Susan Jones is editor of the University Times. Reach her at email@example.com or 724-244-4042.
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