Stimulus-funded bridge project gets under way in Beaver County
Gov. Ed Rendell speaks with reporters and local officials after a press conference beneath the Beaver-Rochester Bridge, where he announced the start of a $10 million rehabilitation of the span, which carries Route 51 over the Beaver River. The project is expected to employ 40 people and five Pennsylvania companies.
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Colored a sickly, faded green with large blotches of rust, the Beaver-Rochester Bridge seemed a fitting place to launch the region's economic stimulus program.
Gov. Ed Rendell stood in a riverfront park beneath the span yesterday to tout the first transportation project begun in southwestern Pennsylvania with federal stimulus money, a $10 million makeover of the bridge, which carries Route 51 over the Beaver River near its confluence with the Ohio River.
"It's exactly what the stimulus program was intended to do," said Mr. Rendell, who said the project would employ 40 people and five Pennsylvania companies, four of them from this region.
"Right now, Beaver County needs this economic stimulus to get people to work and to rebuild its infrastructure in order to attract new residents and businesses. Stories like this one are playing out across the state as more than $1 billion in federal transportation stimulus funds is supplementing the $1.8 billion in work Pennsylvania had already planned for this year," he said.
Mr. Rendell and Dan Cessna, district executive for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, said the project would not have happened for several years had it not been for the federal stimulus program.
"It wasn't on a [funding] program anywhere," Mr. Cessna said.
After a visit to the bridge last fall, and amid talk that the federal government would act to jump-start the economy, PennDOT quickly designed a rehabilitation project, making the project "shovel-ready" to qualify for stimulus money, Mr. Cessna said.
The project includes full painting, expansion dam and rocker bearing replacements and steel and concrete repairs. PennDOT has paid particular attention to rocker bearings since one failed on the Birmingham Bridge in February 2008, causing a section to shift and drop.
The Beaver-Rochester Bridge is made up of five structures, three of which have been rated structurally deficient.
The main span crossing the Beaver River, 993 feet long, was built in 1963. It had minor repairs in 1991. It connects with another 127-foot section built in 1958.
PennDOT spokesman Jim Struzzi said the bridge would remain open during repairs, with lane restrictions and some long-term ramp closures. The work is expected to be completed in November 2010.
The low bid submitted by Mascaro Construction Co. of Manchester was just under $10 million, which was $2.5 million to $5 million below what PennDOT had estimated.
Bids on two other stimulus projects also have come in under budget, Mr. Cessna said.
Gulisek Construction LLC of Mount Pleasant submitted the lowest of six bids for reconstruction of the Route 22/30/60 interchange on the Parkway West near Robinson Town Centre, $13.8 million. PennDOT had estimated the cost at $12.5 million to $14.9 million.
That project, which will reconfigure the interchange to improve safety by reducing lane-changing and weaving near the shopping complexes in Robinson and North Fayette, will begin "very, very soon," Mr. Cessna said.
Lindy Paving Inc. of New Castle submitted the lowest of five bids, $2.4 million, for resurfacing of U.S. Route 422 in Mahoning and Union townships, Lawrence County. The estimated cost had been $2.5 million to $4.9 million.
First Published May 28, 2009 12:00 am