Local

Swindell Bridge over Parkway North closed indefinitely

PITTSBURGH — Michael Edwards is a construction worker himself. He was driving on 279 North when he said a massive cloud of debris appeared, showering his brand new truck with liquid concrete and rocks from dozens of feet above.

“I’m like, ‘I just got hit by a whole bunch of concrete,’” Michael Edwards tells Channel 11 News. “It was pretty clear to me right away what happened.”

His truck is coated with concrete after a shower of sludge came pouring down. A woman driving at the same time now has a baseball-sized crater impaled in her windshield. Edwards says he’s been over the Swindell Bridge and its crumbling condition is the worst kept secret.

“It’s pretty well known at this point that that bridge is an issue,” Edwards says.

Friday was supposed to be the last day for repairs to resurface the bridge connecting Perry South with Northview Heights. Our sources tell us the bridge was being scrubbed when liquid, rock and debris drained into the gutters. Those gutters are rusted and riddled with holes. Instead of filtering out, all that material came flying down onto drivers.

“Someone’s not doing their job well if you have stuff falling down onto the interstate,” Edwards adds.

Neighbors have been sounding the alarm about the bridge for years. In May, our crews walked across with neighbors to see the exposed rebar, massive craters and a hole where you could literally see the ground hundreds of feet below. They hope this is the final straw.

“I beg you, please come and take a look at it,” Miss Terry of Northview Heights said. “What has to happen? Another bridge collapsing?”

The firehouse on the Northview Heights side is no longer able to cross into Perry South. All calls are being covered while the Pittsburgh Public Safety department works on a plan to reroute crews.

The City says it has scheduled an emergency inspection on Saturday to determine what went wrong. Mayor Ed Gainey said in a statement:

“We will not hesitate to keep this bridge closed for the safety of our citizens. If the inspection comes back and tells us that this bridge is no longer safe for traffic, we will act immediately. We will update the City as soon as we are able to on the results of the inspection. We have selected the firm that will be responsible for our Bridge Asset Management Program and are in the process of negotiating our contract with them. We take the safety and security of our bridges seriously, and this program is critical for us to make sure the bridges in Pittsburgh are safe for everyone.”

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