Even people who drive across it regularly probably couldn't tell you where the Fancourt Bridge is.
That's about to change, as the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation prepares to close the tiny but strategic span in Downtown Pittsburgh for a three-month replacement project.
The bridge is named for a street that was erased from the map in the 1950s by Gateway Center construction. It carries traffic for all of 32 feet from westbound Fort Duquesne Boulevard over the 10th Street Bypass to ramps that connect with the Fort Pitt Bridge and Commonwealth Place.
When the bridge closes at 10 p.m. Thursday, traffic on Fort Duquesne Boulevard traveling toward the Point will have two options -- turn left at Stanwix Street or continue straight ahead on the ramp to the Fort Duquesne Bridge.
The detour for drivers headed to the Fort Pitt Bridge or the Parkway East will be left on Stanwix and either right on Liberty Avenue for the Fort Pitt ramp or straight ahead on Stanwix to the Parkway East ramp. About 7,500 vehicles use the bridge on a typical day.
Others will be affected, as the project also will close the eastbound lanes of the 10th Street Bypass. Ramps from the inbound Fort Pitt and Fort Duquesne bridges to the bypass will be shut down and motorists will detour to Fort Duquesne Boulevard to reach the convention center area and Strip District.
"Just like any detour we put in place long-term, it's going to take people a few days to find alternate routes," PennDOT spokesman Jim Struzzi said. While the department expects some added congestion Downtown, "it's not going to be too bad," he said.
The bridge, which was built in 1930, has been rated structurally deficient and functionally obsolete. The contract calls for replacement of the superstructure, deck, beams, bearings and approach slabs and repairs to retaining walls along the 10th Street Bypass adjacent to the bridge. The project will increase clearance under the bridge by 14 inches, to 14 feet, 6 inches.
Trumbull Corp. is the contractor. The work is part of an $8.7 million project to improve about 26 ramps and road sections that connect the Golden Triangle to the interstate highway system. Completion is scheduled for mid-to-late December.
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. First Published September 26, 2012 4:00 AM