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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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John Goold March 05, 2013 at 10:30 PM
Here comes the Ugly Concrete Eyesore Bridge. Instead of preserving a beautiful and unique bridge that will be a centerpiece for the transportation history of Pennsylvania and the United States Oakmont will have the same simple and elegant bridge that thousands of other communities have. Where is the outrage in the preservation people in the community or the people that want tourism? You are about to lose perhaps your most important and interesting historic item. There are ways around demolishing this bridge and people need to push them. I grew up in Marietta, OH and that town lost all its major historic automobile bridges and it is much weaker historically and athestically despite being one of the most geographical fortunate communities and the oldest permanant settlement in Ohio.
The Frustrated Pragmatist March 06, 2013 at 03:17 PM
You've got to be kidding right??? The Hulton Bridge is not "beauriful or unique" and it will certainly never be a "centerpiece for transportation history". My God, I had hot tea fly out of my nose when I read those words!!! the Glorification of outdated, delapadated, dangerous, and non-functional crap infrastructure is sometimes just too funny for words. The lousy Hulton Bridge will be replaced with a new bridge that actually serves the needs of the people crossing the bridge. You know, things like more than 2 lanes? And I for one will not miss the UGLY lavender and rust colored behemoth that only has two lanes. BRING ON THE CONCRETE EYESORE BRIDGE!!!!! The sooner the better!
John Goold March 06, 2013 at 11:32 PM
Have you done your research? The bridge was built in 1909 and I challenge you to find a bridge like that anywhere today. This bridge is the Brooklyn Bridge of truss bridges. I can understand you have a lack of traffic capacity on that bridge but you can either build a two lane bridge next to it or preserve it in place for pedistrians once the UCEB is completed. People come see that bridge, it is on just about every historic bridge registry that exists, it was ranked the third most important historic preservation project in the Pittsburgh area, it won the Top Ranked Unique Savable Structure (Truss) award in the bridge hunter chronicles. There are few to no bridges from this era that are truss bridges like this left standing. Your town will miss this bridge I promise you. You will miss the asthetics, artistic look and even the conversation value of it. Your town's soul will be raped if this bridge is demolished, I promise you that.
John Goold March 06, 2013 at 11:35 PM
I am a historic bridge person and I travel to photograph bridge, the bridge I have as my cellphone wallpaper is the Hulton Bridge because bar none to me it is the most beautiful and significant historic truss bridge standing right now.
John Goold March 06, 2013 at 11:42 PM
http://www.historicbridges.org/bridges/browser/?bridgebrowser=truss/hulton/
The Frustrated Pragmatist March 08, 2013 at 03:39 PM
John, I could challenge you to find any one of several types of structures that are no longer built, simply because they are not practical, useful, economic, or even beautiful (in the eye of the beholder of course). The Hulton Bridge meets ZERO criteria for attempting to save it. It is the wrong size for its purpose. Period. If you want to save it an convert it to a walking bridge, feel free to make PennDot and offer to buy it, spend millions to upgrade it, and countless millions more over the life span of the span, and have a party. At some point in time, most structures outlive their usefullness. While you may be emotionally attached to the Hulton Bridge, I would wager that you couldn't find more than 1% of the population who use the bridge daily that would support keeping a two-lane bridge there.
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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