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Greenfield Ave. structure to undergo rehabilitation

Debris-catching span to precede bridge work

Wednesday, June 11, 2003

By Joe Grata, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

The city is about to build a bridge under the Greenfield Avenue Bridge, the landmark 80-year-old concrete arch structure crossing the Parkway East near Squirrel Hill.

It will be a "temporary structure" needed to catch debris when the original bridge undergoes an estimated $1.5 million rehabilitation either next year or in 2005, said Fred Reginella, city director of engineering-construction.

"We have the money in place for this phase, so we figured we ought to go ahead with it," he said. "Meanwhile, it will provide added protection to Parkway East traffic passing under the Greenfield Avenue Bridge," where heavy netting has been strung to catch broken concrete.

A woman was seriously injured in February when a chunk of concrete fell through her windshield as she drove inbound on the Parkway East under the bridge. She has filed suit against the city and Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, claiming negligence.

The temporary bridge, similar to one in place through the early 1980s, will cost $652,000 and take about three months to build.

PennDOT will temporarily close Parkway East lanes from 10 p.m. today through 5 a.m. tomorrow to install traffic warning signs and to set up temporary concrete barriers along the shoulders, to protect workers building footings that will support the steel framework.

During construction, all lanes will remain open on the parkway, part of Interstate 376. It will be a work zone where drivers will be required to turn on their headlights and comply with the speed limit.

"Basically, the structure will be a wide platform," Reginella said. "What will happen tonight is prep work. If we get the money [from state and federal sources], the main contract for rehabilitation will be awarded next year."

The Greenfield Avenue Bridge, connecting Greenfield and Schenley Park, was last inspected in March and was judged structurally sound.

Joe Grata can be reached at jgrata@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1985.

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