Swissvale council on Aug. 7 was pleased to transfer the responsibility for construction on the Kenmawr Bridge to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.
The bridge, which passes over railroad tracks and links Swissvale and Rankin, has been in disrepair for decades, with the Port Authority of Allegheny County earlier this year redirecting several bus routes to avoid it.
The state Public Utility Commission determined in the late 1980s that Swissvale, Rankin, Allegheny County and Norfolk Southern Railroad shared responsibility for maintaining the bridge, Councilman Robert Zischkau said.
"The way the funding worked out was that the feds paid 80 percent, 15 percent by PennDOT and the other 5 percent by everyone else," Mr. Zischkau said. Swissvale "assumed responsibility two years ago [for consultation and engineering], and it's been in various stages over that period."
Last month, PennDOT contacted solicitor Robert McTiernan about taking responsibility for fixing the bridge, which council was happy to agree to. "PennDOT is better suited" to get things done, Mr. Zischkau said.
No firm estimate for construction costs was available, but Mr. Zischkau said SAI, the consulting engineering firm contracted for the project, gave four figures ranging from $3.1 million to $6 million. No design has been submitted.
Swissvale won't be completely out of the project -- "We're basically coordinating meetings through PennDOT," Mr. Zischkau said.
Mr. Zischkau said he sees another advantage of PennDOT becoming the overseer of this project.
"You've eliminated one whole level of bureaucracy," Mr. Zischkau said.
Rick Nowlin: email@example.com or 412-263-3871.