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.