So long, span: Old Hulton Bridge set to come down on Tuesday
January 21, 2016 12:00 AM
The concrete decking was removed and cuts were made in the old Hulton Bridge's structure. The bridge will be demolished on Jan. 26.
By Ed Blazina / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Unless there is an active snow or ice storm Tuesday morning, PennDOT contractors plan to implode the old Hulton Bridge and drop it into the Allegheny River.
Brayman Construction Inc. and demolition subcontractor Demtech, both of Saxonburg, will create a 1,000-foot safety zone around the bridge beginning at 7 a.m. Tuesday. The demolition is a challenging project because it is adjacent to the new bridge and will involve evacuating a nearby junior-senior high school and closing the river for up to three days.
The schedule calls for stopping traffic beginning at 9:30 a.m. Once police and demolition officials are sure no one is in the safety zone, the implosion will occur around 10 a.m.
The bridge, which joins Oakmont with Harmar, is so close to the new bridge that Demtech will build wooden boxes around demolition charges to prevent damage. The contractor also will place geo-textile material on the new bridge, opened Oct. 20, to protect it.
Working with the state Department of Environmental Protection, Demtech determined there are several nearby structures where the windows will be covered to prevent damage, including Riverview Junior-Senior High School at the Oakmont end of the bridge and the Oakmont Harbor condominiums.
Officials have contacted everyone who lives in the safety zone and “strongly encouraged” them to leave the area before the blast, said PennDOT spokesman Steve Cowan.
Mr. Cowan said there is no designated place for the public to watch the demolition. There will be a staging area set up outside the safety zone for the contractors, PennDOT officials and the media.
“This implosion is basically work-related as far as the contractor is concerned,” he said. “Safety is the biggest concern. We understand individuals will be interested in seeing the demolition, but they will have to stay outside the safety zone.”
Once the bridge is down, the contractor will have cranes and barges in the river to immediately begin dismantling the steel structure and haul it away. Workers have 72 hours to reopen a 300-foot-wide channel for river traffic.
The demolition is part of the $65.7 million contract to replace the old bridge.
Among those displaced for the demolition will be about 500 students and 75 teachers and staff members from Riverview Junior-Senior High School.
Tiffany Nix, principal at the high school, said students will report for class at the normal time for an extended first period. At 9:15, high school students will board buses to Tenth Street Elementary School — which took some coordination because the district doesn’t normally bus most students, but ABC Transit donated its services. Junior high students will walk down the street to the auditorium at Nexus Student Ministry.
Once demolition contractors say the area is safe, junior high students will go back to the school for lunch, followed by the high school students.
Superintendent Peggy DiNinno said the Riverview School District lobbied for the demolition to take place when students weren’t in class. But when that didn’t work out, the district worked with Brayman to turn the demolition into a teachable moment.
Brayman will have a representative at Tenth Street for a PowerPoint presentation about the demolition and will set up a live video stream of the implosion. Students will count down to the actual blast.
“I didn’t want them to miss the implosion after watching the construction out the window for so long,” Ms. Nix said. “We were going to see about doing a live video ourselves, but then Brayman stepped forward and said they would do it.”
Ed Blazina: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1470.
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