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Completion of Liberty Bridge project delayed until Sept. 18

September 19, 2018

The completion of a $81.8 million rehabilitation of Pittsburgh’s Liberty Bridge is delayed again.

PennDOT expects the project, which started three years ago, to be completed by Sept. 18, spokesman Steve Cowan said.

PennDOT added work to the project, which caused the latest delay, Cowan said, including adding large concrete blocks known as a pedestal extensions to the bridge support system on Boulevard of the Allies. The extensions will require trucks to make larger turns to avoid hitting the bridge structure, Cowan said.

PennDOT also asked contractors to pressure wash the decorative sandstone on top of the Boulevard of the Allies retaining wall, Cowan said.

The rehabilitation project will now cost $81.8 million -- up from its original estimate of $80.1 million when the project began in August 2015.

After the project is done, crews will replace a damaged pedestrian railing on Boulevard of the Allies that a driver hit about two weeks ago, Cowan said. The railing had been installed for about a month before it was hit, Cowan said. That will take about three months. PennDOT will seek reimbursement for the $30,000 new railing from the driver who hit it, Cowan said.

Lane closures on the bridge will likely wrap up within the next two weeks, Cowan said.

The project was originally scheduled to be completed in July. Unforeseen steel repairs, added sidewalk work and bird-screen installation pushed the end date to Aug. 26, Cowan told the Trib in July.

In September 2017, the bridge caught fire and was closed for weeks. A federal investigation found West Deer-based Joseph B. Fay did not practice proper fire safety measures.

The bridge is used by about 42,000 vehicles a day, according to PennDOT records.

The Liberty Tunnel rehabilitation project is scheduled to be finished in mid-February.

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