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New Hulton Bridge Plans Included in PennDOT's 2013 Construction Schedule

This year’s PennDOT construction work will include $282 million worth of road and bridge improvement projects.

This year’s PennDOT construction work will include $282 million worth of road and bridge improvement projects that hit every corner of Allegheny County.

About half of the money being spent on road projects in the county will be spent on bridge reconstruction.

One of the most significant projects to begin this year, is the Hulton Bridge replacement in Oakmont and Harmar, according to PennDOT officials.

PennDOT District 11 Executive Dan Cessna said during a press conference last week that the project is estimated to cost between $60 million and $80 million. He said the project would begin in August and is "certainly significant for this region."

Hulton Bridge, which carries traffic over the Allegheny River between Oakmont and Harmar Township, was built in 1908 and has two lanes of traffic. According to PennDOT, the scope of work includes replacing the existing bridge with a "simple but elegant" four lane structure just upstream of the existing bridge.

The project also includes the reconstruction of the Freeport Road/Hulton Road intersection and realignment of Hulton Road at the Oakmont approach to align with the new river crossing location. An upgraded traffic signal will be placed at the intersection of Freeport and Hulton roads.

PennDOT officials have been working with Oakmont and Riverview officials to acquire property and right-of-way use to begin working on the replacement project. Officials hope to complete the project before the 2016 U.S. Open is held at the Oakmont Country Club.

Other construction plans

Cessna said the “most impactful” project in the Pittsburgh area will be reconstruction of the outbound lanes of the Squirrel Tunnels. That project is expected to cost close to $50 million and will include weekend closures beginning on March 22. There will also be various single-lane closures during nights to allow for work.

Crews will begin work to remove the outbound tunnel ceiling and continue rehabilitation and preservation work on the outbound bridge over Commercial Street. When overall work is completed, vertical clearance in the eastbound tunnel will increase from 13 feet, 6 inches to 14 feet, 9 inches.

“You’re going to see a ton of work this summer,” Cessna said.

Also happening nearby this construction season:

  • Replacement of the Plum Street Bridge over Plum Creek in Verona and Oakmont.
  • Paving on Allegheny River Boulevard in Verona from James Street to Allegheny Avenue.
  • Paving on Freeport Road in Aspinwall and O'Hara from Western Avenue to Old Freeport Road.

Construction also continues on the Liberty Tunnels to finish installing the smooth wall surface that will brighten the tubes and make them easier to be cleaned. The portal is also being rebuilt to its original configuration. There will be various detours this summer, including two separate 18-day detours in each direction in August that will route traffic around the tunnels.

“We’re anxious to get the tunnels put back together so they’re easy to clean,” Cessna said.

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Dawn Swidorsky March 08, 2013 at 07:25 PM
I have to agree with frustrated below. As someone who frequently uses the bridge at rush hour-it is inadequate. Watch 2 semitrucks pass each other on the bridge-scary ! AND who would pay to maintain the existing bridge if we keep it as a foot bridge ?
Bruce Johnston March 08, 2013 at 11:01 PM
It is a historic bridge and has been an important part of Oakmont for years but is now too small- perhaps it could be used elsewhere?? Take it down and move the bridge to another location maybe, if it has to be removed- reuse the steel- remember the ornaments from the old Civic arena.
John Goold March 09, 2013 at 03:18 AM
I agree with you Bruce, none of us believe the status quo is acceptable. We just hate to see this bridge demolished because it really was a feat of engineering that was built. Imagine the workmanship and vision the engineers had that built this bridge. When this bridge was constructed there were no semis. People should also understand that this bridge doesn't shake from being overloaded, it vibrates just like it was designed to do so that it has the flexible to carry vehicles and weights that nobody could have imagined when that bridge was built.
John Goold March 09, 2013 at 03:27 AM
I agree with you Bruce, none of us believe the status quo is acceptable all of us on those sites understand that unfortunately despite the fact that the bridge can still support semis it just isn't wide enough. We just hate to see this bridge demolished because it really was a feat of engineering when it was built. Imagine the workmanship and vision the engineers had that built the Hulton Bridge. When this bridge was constructed there were no semis. People should also understand that this bridge doesn't shake from being overloaded, it vibrates just like it was designed to do so that it has the flexibility to carry vehicles and weights that nobody could have imagined when that bridge was built. If we demolished a bridge just because it was obsolete we would have lost the Golden Gate Bridge, The Brooklyn Bridge and even the Three Sisters in Pittsburgh but we keep those because they are an important part of our history. Like it or not the Lovely Lacy Lavender Trusses of the Hulton Bridge are just as iconic for Oakmont as the Masonry Towers of the Brooklyn Bridge are for New York. ...
John Goold March 10, 2013 at 08:57 AM
Here is a petition if anybody thinks options should be explored to tearing this bridge down. I am sure I won't get much support but I want to put it on here. http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/save-the-hulton-bridge/signatures

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