Pittsburgh bridge that abruptly shut down for emergency repairs will now be closed for 3 years

PITTSBURGH — For weeks, drivers have been navigating how to get around the Charles Anderson Memorial Bridge after it was abruptly closed for emergency repairs. But now, officials say road closure signs will remain up for the next three years, as those emergency repairs have turned into a complete rehab project.

“Well, we’ve been dreading that coming,” said Mark Oleniacz.

Oleniacz, a longtime Oakland resident, said so far, the Charles Anderson Memorial Bridge closure has been a nightmare. So, he can’t image what three more years of detours will look like.

Previous coverage: Bridge detour causing confusion, frustration for commuters

“Here we are six, eight weeks out from when the bridge closed and there still isn’t proper signage,” Oleniacz said.

Officials had closed the bridge in early February for emergency repairs, but some drivers like Oleniacz had hoped that it would reopen before it was completely rehabbed.

According to PennDOT, that won’t be the case.

“We’ve been working with the city and the Federal Highway Administration on ways to expedite the big project, and they thought for a while maybe we will just make the emergency repairs and get the bridge reopened. But then you’d open the bridge for a little bit and then you’d close it back up for the big project, so it didn’t make a lot of sense,” said Cheryl Moon-Sirianni, Executive Deputy Secretary of PennDOT.

Oleniacz said that means three more years of this: “People getting lost doing U-turns not knowing where they are going,” he said.

And he fears an accident may happen if better signs aren’t put up. So, he wrote to the city last month.

“I gave them at least four or five spots that they could put signs up. There are old signs that are still here, I told the city about that too, and you see they are still here,” said Oleniacz.

Oleniacz said nothing has changed.

“Twenty-one thousand cars used to go over that bridge a day. Where are they going now? I don’t know, but there must be people who are still getting lost,” Oleniacz said.

PennDOT said the rehab project will include a new deck and steel beam replacements.

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