When a portion of Duncan Avenue near its intersection with Route 8 closes for four months beginning Monday, many parishioners, students and Hampton fire department personnel will need to find a new way to get to their destinations.
The Rev. Garrett D. Dorsey, pastor of St. Ursula Parish on Kirk Avenue, said the closure in Hampton will have immediate and long-range effects on the spring and summer activities of the century-old church.
The road is closing so that a small bridge built in 1918 to carry Duncan over a creek can be replaced by a concrete culvert structure. Hampton manager Christopher Lochner said last week that structural cracks recently were found on the bridge.
The $798,000 project is part of the Duncan Avenue Improvements Project Phase I, which also involves completing a dry basin retention pond and adding turning lanes on Duncan. The work will be managed by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and performed by Gary Metzger Cement Contractors.
Mr. Lochner said Allegheny County is contributing more than $470,000 to the cost of the project.
Hampton council President Victor Son said "doing this project takes care of a severe problem before anyone's car or truck was damaged."
Father Dorsey said buses ridden by St. Ursula School's 135 students in grades K-8 will be affected by the closing.
"This will affect the timing of children arriving at school," he said. "Other kids get picked up from the fire house and go to Central Catholic and Oakland Catholic, and they use that route, too."
St. Ursula hosts activities on Monday evenings and holds Mass every day.
"On Sunday, we have parishioners who come from Route 8," he said. "We hope to put up some signs around that time when they start the bridge work, and we hope to be able to hand out a little map that can help direct people to the alternate routes they can take."
The posted detour route will be Elfinwild Road and Mount Royal Boulevard.
Father Dorsey said events that will be affected by the closing include confirmation on May 17; the church festival May 27 to June 1; and the dedication and renewing of the church and its hall in the middle of June.
Jeff Kline, director of administrative services for Hampton School District, said the effects of the road closing are "not as bad as we had feared. We've identified six bus routes which will be affected. We will notify parents and students this week."
Mr. Kline noted that some bus schedules will change to account for additional travel time because of the detour. And, some students may have to switch buses during the closure.
Adding to the disruption is the current closing of Middle Road for replacement of the bridge crossing the Pennsylvania Turnpike. The Middle Road detour affects only high school and middle school buses. Mr. Kline said bus schedules are working smoothly.
Jill Cueni-Cohen, freelance writer: email@example.com.