The Greensburg Pike Bridge connecting Turtle Creek and North Versailles is ready for retirement.
Eighty-eight years old, the rusting steel structure has a posted weight limit of 11 tons, a fraction of what a healthier bridge could support. Stopgap repairs were needed three years ago to keep it open until a new bridge could be built. It is rated structurally deficient and functionally obsolete, with a sufficiency rating of just 9 on a 100-point scale.
Monday will be its last full day of service. A new $16.2 million structure is going up alongside it, and Allegheny County's contractor will start work to tie the neighboring roads to it. Greensburg Pike will close there on Tuesday, possibly for more than a year, sending an estimated 7,000 vehicles per day on long detours.
The county will host a public meeting at 7 p.m. today at the Turtle Creek Municipal Building, 125 Monroeville Ave., to display project plans and inform residents and businesses about the detours.
Michael Dillon, county construction engineering manager, said the new bridge will align better with the Penn Avenue-Airbrake Avenue-Monroeville Avenue intersection on the Turtle Creek side. The current bridge comes in at a sharp angle; the new one will curve to make a perpendicular connection.
Another improvement will be 8-foot-wide shoulders on both sides of traffic. The current bridge has none.
"It's definitely going to be a safer bridge," Mr. Dillon said.
When the contract was awarded, the schedule called for completion by August of this year. Delays were caused by complications relocating utility lines, he said. Now the expected completion date is Thanksgiving 2014, although the county is hoping it can be finished sooner.
The posted detour from Turtle Creek uses the Tri-Boro Expressway to Patton Street, Fifth Avenue and Route 30. From the North Versailles side, the route follows Warren Drive, Route 30, Linden Avenue, Beech Avenue and the Tri-Boro.
Jon Schmitz: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1868. Visit the PG's transportation blog, The Roundabout, at www.post-gazette.com/Roundabout. Twitter: @pgtraffic.