Pittsburgh City Council introduces bill, passes resolution in wake of bridge collapse

PITTSBURGH — In the first public Pittsburgh City Council meeting following Friday’s disastrous bridge collapse, members voted to extend the city’s declaration of disaster emergency.

The unanimous vote extends the declaration an additional 90 days, to May 2, and directs the mayor to enter into agreements with any appropriate state agencies in order to receive help.

“It can streamline funding,” said Councilman Corey O’Connor, who told Channel 11 that PennDOT has indicated it may be willing to fund the replacement of the Fern Hollow Bridge.

O’Connor also introduced two related ordinances in the wake of the collapse.

The first is a “transparency” bill, which would provide Pittsburgh citizens with access to important infrastructure information, including recent inspection updates.

If passed, residents would be able to “look up bridge infrastructure as well as tunnels,” said O’Connor. “Just keeping those infrastructure projects up to speed with the public, so that the residents know what type of condition these projects are in.”

The second bill would establish a commission of industry experts, who would review the city’s infrastructure and make budgetary recommendations.

“That’s important, because it sort of takes the politics out of it and it brings people to the table who are experts in the field,” O’Connor told Channel 11.

Both ordinances could come up for a vote as soon as next week.

During the meeting’s public comment section, citizens chastised leaders for the collapse.

“Yinz should have been shutting that bridge down,” said one Mount Washington resident. “That was a disgrace.”