Neville Island Bridge project to bring closures, restrictions

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More than a year of long-term lane closures and other restrictions begin tonight on the Interstate 79 Neville Island Bridge, part of a $20.8 million project to refurbish the bridge and its interchange with Route 65.

The massive six-lane bridge will be restricted to one lane in each direction nightly from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. during the week, and from 8 p.m. Fridays through 6 a.m. Mondays. At other times, two lanes will be open in each direction.

Those restrictions will be in place through late November, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation spokesman Jim Struzzi said.

Other restrictions and closures on the bridge, its approaches and Route 65 are likely over the course of the project, which is expected to be completed in October 2010, he said.

The bridge lane closures are not expected to cause major tie-ups, Mr. Struzzi said. "Potentially on weekends there could be some delays."

The speed limit in the work zone will be 45 mph.

The contractor, Swank Associated Cos. of New Kensington, will be working on 10 structures that make up the bridge and its approaches from Glenfield, Robinson and Neville.

Work includes concrete pavement reconstruction, pollution control, lighting, expansion joint replacement, steel repairs, expansion dam replacements, deck and substructure repairs, resetting bearings, bituminous pavement, signs and pavement marking, and other miscellaneous construction, Mr. Struzzi said.

The bridge, spanning the Ohio River, opened in September 1976 and was Pennsylvania's final piece of the 340-mile interstate highway linking Charleston, W.Va., and Erie.

Less than five months after the ribbon-cutting, PennDOT was forced to close the bridge when a riverboat captain noticed a 10-foot crack in a girder crossing the back channel of the river. The bridge was closed for three months for repairs.


Jon Schmitz can be reached at jschmitz@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1868.


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