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Removal of the collapsed structure started in early February and was completed within 2-3 weeks. Pre-construction and construction activities are anticipated to start in spring 2022.
At this point, the department and the city are not comfortable with an opening date announcement due to uncertainties with material procurement. As we move through the project delivery and construction process, we will be able to refine an opening timeframe.
Yes. As part of the design, a shared-use path will be included on the south side of the structure that will tie into a shared-use path that is being constructed by the City of Pittsburgh along both the western and eastern approaches of Forbes Avenue prior to reopening the roadway. In addition, a pedestrian sidewalk will be included on the north side of the structure. This increases dedicated pedestrian and bicycle width by 50% compared to the previous cross-section.
Yes. The project team is considering aesthetic treatments to the new bridge piers, beams, and parapet as well as other features. Currently, the bridge piers will include stone form liners (17004 Liberty Island Block pattern). Frick Park is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and so aesthetic treatments will take into consideration the history of the park.
June 2022 Update: In collaboration with the Federal Highway Administration, the City of Pittsburgh, the Office for Public Art, Swank Construction Company, and HDR Inc., the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is excited to announce that artists have been selected to provide aesthetic elements to the Fern Hollow Bridge Replacement Project. John Peña, of Pittsburgh, was selected to integrate and/or apply artwork to enhance the pedestrian and cyclist bridge user experience. Carin Mincemoyer, of Pittsburgh, was selected to integrate and/or apply artwork to enhance the trail user experience below the Fern Hollow Bridge. Our project team looks forward to collaborating with both John and Carin to enhance the Fern Hollow Bridge while remaining sensitive to the intimate setting of Frick Park and the surrounding natural area.
April 2022 Update: The project team is collaborating with the Office of Public Art (OPA) to identify locations where aesthetic elements can be incorporated into the bridge design. The OPA will assist the project team with identifying a local artist(s) to develop potential aesthetic elements relating to Frick Park and the surrounding natural area. Areas on the bridge are being identified for aesthetic treatments and will be refined as the artist(s) develops ideas. Because the bridge crosses Frick Park, a property listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and federal funds are being used, Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) applies. Section 106 requires federal agencies to identify historic properties and to assess the effects of their undertakings on those properties. The federal agency is required to consult with the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) and other consulting parties (those with a demonstrated interest in the project). As part of the Section 106 consultation and public involvement processes, the project team will consult with the SHPO and consulting parties for review of and comment on the final aesthetic treatments.
Both steel and concrete bridges were considered with the prestressed option being the most timely and economical, both important factors in the reconstruction of this critical roadway network link.
No. The Frick Park Gatehouse (a contributing structure to Frick Park) will not be impacted by construction of the new bridge. Protection on the structure will occur during construction activities.
No. Due to safety concerns and conflicts with construction activities, the trail will not be opened until construction of the bridge is completed.
Part of the waterway permit will include a stream restoration plan. PennDOT is working with the environmental resource agencies as well as gathering feedback from Upstream PGH (local watershed group) to incorporate different concepts into the design. The goal is to return the stream back to its original condition.
Yes. PennDOT is working with the City of Pittsburgh's Department of Public Works (City Forester) to develop a tree planting plan. Trees will be planted to minimize the impacts from the collapsed bridge and construction activities.
Yes. Highway lighting will be included on the structure for both the travel lanes and shared-use path. The proposed lighting will be compliant with the City of Pittsburgh's Dark Sky Lighting Ordinance.
Yes. The project team will coordinate with the Port Authority of Allegheny County to relocate the 61A/61B Bus Stop as the existing location will no longer be accessible due to the placement of traffic barriers along the curb line of the bridge and approach slabs on the southern side.
No. Due to limitations created by the Frick Park Gatehouse, Briarcliff Road, and the properties adjacent, as well as minimal existing right-of-way for the road within the park, the same overall bridge width was determined to be the most practical, timely, and least impactful option to the community.
Forbes Avenue is classified as a Principal Arterial on the National Highway System (NHS). Given the high average daily traffic count and a design speed of 35 mph, both "speed tables" and "speed humps" are not recommended by code. These traffic calming measures are recommended for local streets, downtown districts, and commercial areas with low average daily traffic counts and a posted speed limit of 30 mph or less.
June 2022 Update: Yes, after review by the project team and coordination with the City of Pittsburgh, a signalized mid-street crossing will be installed along the western approach of Forbes Avenue approximately 150 feet west of the Frick Park Gatehouse. This mid-street crossing will connect the northern sidewalk along Forbes Avenue with the extensive trail system located within Frick Park as well as the proposed Shared-Use-Path.
Installation of a pedestrian crossing on the western approach was reviewed by our project team. Through coordination with the City of Pittsburgh, a mid-street crossing will not be implemented due to sight distance concerns with vehicles traveling in the eastbound direction around the curve along Forbes Avenue. In the interest of safety, the preference is to have all pedestrian movements occur at the intersection of Forbes Avenue and South Braddock Avenue as this is a controlled intersection with pedestrian signals.
At this time, a Road Diet Feasibility Determination cannot be performed as it requires both a traffic capacity and traffic operations analysis to be completed along Forbes Avenue to document the roadway function, pedestrian and bike activity, traffic volumes, operational level of service, turning volumes, turning patterns, traffic weaving, traffic speed, and traffic queues. With no previous study and the roadway closed to all forms of traffic, a Road Diet Feasibility Determination cannot be completed at this time. In addition to not having the necessary traffic data, a Road Diet Feasibility Determination is also a time-consuming endeavor that could take up to 12 months to complete and would significantly delay the design schedule for the Emergency Fern Hollow Bridge Replacement Project. A Road Diet would also impact the lane/intersection configuration and traffic signal timings at Forbes Avenue and South Braddock Avenue, which is currently outside of this project's scope of work. Provided with several sight restrictions such as the Frick Park Gate House, Briar Cliff Road intersection, and available right-of-way, the project team reallocated as much bridge space as possible to provide a space for pedestrians, cyclists, and park users to meet the City of Pittsburgh's goal of creating facilities for all ages and abilities. Through this reallocation of existing bridge space, the project team was able to improve the multimodal facilities along Forbes Avenue by 50% in comparison to the existing structure without delaying this critical replacement project.