PITTSBURGH — President Biden will be in Pittsburgh Thursday to talk about infrastructure. The last time Biden was in town to have those same discussions, the Fern Hollow bridge collapsed. Today we got an update from PennDOT on progress which is ahead of schedule.
“I think it’s coming (along) great, I think Swank (Construction Company) is doing a really great job,” said Susan Gitomer. “I’m an architect and this was a major project so I understand the limitations sometimes trying to get something designed quickly and approved quickly.”
Gitomer lives half a block from the bridge, and like many Pittsburghers, she remembers where she was when she heard it collapsed — at a hospital in Austria, after she broke her legs skiing.
“Two days later my roommate opened her little local news paper and she said, ‘Susan aren’t you from Pittsburgh?’ I said yes, and she said this bridge collapsed! And I said ‘Oh my gosh, where? I live a half a block away from there!’” Gitomer recalled.
There has been nine months of progress since that day. Drone 11 flew over the new bridge today to show the changes.
PennDOT began pouring concrete for the bridge deck two weeks ago. It’s done in sections and is now well underway. Next up is slab work, which will ultimately tie the roadway in with the bridge.
PennDOT executives tell Channel 11 they’re actually way ahead of schedule for a bridge project like this, crediting the contractor for the hard work.
For commuters in the east end, and even neighbors who like to walk to the park, ahead of schedule is a great place to be because it’s a long detour to get around.
PennDOT says there’s a chance the bridge could open before the end of the year. But when it does open to traffic, it still won’t be complete. They’ll be doing more work — adding lighting, pedestrian signals and even some art in the spring.
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