Greenfield Bridge Demolition/Replacement
I’ve heard from a reputable source that the Greenfield Bridge is slated to be demolished in December 2012 before the new one is built. (A previous plan was to build a new bridge next to the old one, keeping it open, then tear down the old one.) Construction of the new bridge could take up to 2 years, during which there will be no access.
This is a common bike commuter route, not to mention the primary access for many residents of Greenfield to Oakland, Squirrel Hill, points east, and the park. The 58, 53L, and 52L buses also use this bridge.
I don’t think we can change their minds on this (although anyone who wants to try, I’m in 100%!), but could we make a case to improve alternate routes while it’s gone? Bates and Swineburne (and to a lesser degree Murray) are not especially pleasant for pedestrians or cyclists, and with no bridge they will have increased vehicle traffic. Adding some bike lanes, fixing sidewalks, widening if possible, and other improvements could make the detours safer and more bearable.
(In case anyone doesn’t know, it’s this bridge: http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=greenfield+bridge&aq=&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=33.435463,57.568359&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Greenfield+Bridge,+Pittsburgh,+Allegheny,+Pennsylvania+15217&ll=40.428639,-79.93839&spn=0.00784,0.014055&z=16&layer=c&cbll=40.428672,-79.938537&panoid=PMUbAIfLAWX1NGBRPUiK7w&cbp=12,102.5,,0,-7.83 )
Yeah, it was inspected last year. Apparently it urgently needs something, and can be replaced for the same cost of restoring it, except a new bridge would last >3x as long as fixing the existing one.
Concrete pieces have been falling off of that bridge for 15 years, at least, hence the temporary structure underneath just for catching concrete pieces. It’s a grand structure, but it’s about time.
2 years to replace seems like a very generous estimate, PennDot replaced a bridge of a similar span over I-79, carrying a non-critical roadway, in less than a year. Hopefully the will to fast-track it is there.
I live a few blocks from the bridge, and bike across this bridge to get pretty much anywhere. The alternative for me is taking Junction Hollow and biking up the damn hill on my way home. That’ll get old quick, especially with the insane amount of traffic that bridge closure will generate on Greenfield Ave. I’d say 80% of our trips in a car use this bridge too.
I was amused they bothered to build a bridge under the bridge, to collect all the chunks that fall off, rather than just fix/replace the bridge that was falling apart. Talk about an expensive band-aid.
The saddest bit is, the Greenfield community groups have been working to erect a welcome sign/portal at the end of the bridge since that is how I imagine most traffic gets to the neighborhood. Too bad nobody will see it until 2014! That two year closure will have a large detrimental effect on the neighborhood. Shame.
Or go to Squirrel Hill and come back via Forward/Beechwood. longer, but not as steep. There will probably be a few months where the bridge is closed to motor vehicles but passable by bicycles, and maybe you will not use it then.
I’m guessing Pocusset will get a lot worse.
Panther Hollow Blvd may actually improve while the bridge is closed (That won’t do our Greenfielders any good, though.)
Maybe, but people will just cut through the park and Sq. Hill to get to the freeway via Murray Ave, or go up around the other side of Frick.
Supposedly Pocusset and Greenfield Road (from the park to the bridge) will also be closed as a construction staging area. Although “closed” and “impassible by bike/ped” are of course not the same, unless you’re on a bridge.
Like I said, this is second-hand information but from a reliable source. Just trying to make this known in case there is something that can be done to make it less horrible.
There are plenty of alternatives to that bridge, but this is not good for Greenfield at all.
When the California Ave bridge over Jacks Run was rebuilt last year, it was kept open to cyclists. The alternatives were either bad (Brighton) or obscure (Shadeland). However they managed it, it was nice to be able to bike it the whole time.
I believe that was a rehabilitation (correct?), while this is tearing down and rebuilding from scratch.
Jeg, might you be able to disclose your source? Doesn’t have to be by name.
Full closure for two years would be very disappointing. How would they reroute the buses?
My source comes from the Department of Public Works; got the info at a community meeting.
Buses would probably go through Squirrel Hill (which, being a former rider of the 56U, essentially means that Greenfielders lose service because the buses fill).
I totally understand that the bridge needs replaced, but think the city needs to consider the impact this will have on transportation (which is NOT just cars), and our neighborhood. There must be a better plan than no access for upwards of 2 years.
I have spoken briefly with someone in Public Works who basically confirmed everything that jeg said along with providing a little more info. Whether it is a replacement or rehab, and PennDOT favors replacement, the favored lane configuration will be similar either way. The concrete barriers will be gone and instead there will simply be concrete curbs. The sidewalk will be on the west side and bike traffic would be accommodated somehow on the east side of the bridge. I’m not sure how someone riding a bike out from the park toward Greenfield would transition over to this bike lane. It seems they are still pretty early in the design stage, though.
Supposed aesthetics are being considered in the bridge replacement. There are two types of bridge structure being considered: a steel arch and a concrete segmental arch. PennDOT favors the steel arch because it is a older and more trusted type. The first concrete segmental arch bridge was built in France in 1948; the first of this type in the U.S. was built in Tennessee in 1993 for the Natchez Trace Parkway (see photo).
There is no way I’d go down that hill in the park and cross over multiple lanes of traffic at an uncontrolled blind corner to access a block long contraflow path on the far side of the bridge, only to cross back over the same bunch of uncontrolled lanes at a yet another blind corner when I get to the other side.
As it is, I have people passing me around that corner when we’re traveling northbound and there have been at least a half a dozen near head-on collisions with people squealing around the corner from the other direction. Hopefully their bike lane/path on the east side of the bridge would fix this.
yeah, I don’t know why people think bidrectional lanes are a good idea. Well, maybe it’s not that people think they’re a good idea, it’s just that people don’t care and they think they can hornswoggle the people who simply don’t know any better.
Are there two sidewalks now? Removal of one will make the lanes wider. A good example of the Rankin bridge redesign which put the sidewalk on one side which widened the shoulders. Plenty of room to easily pass.
Do up-to-date traffic (ped/bike/vehicle) counts confirm the new structure will have three lanes, as the current structure?
Will the city consider a longer design life, because modern codes provide very little float beyond the stated design life, as opposed to older, less precisely built structures functioning well beyond their 50 or 75 year design?
Will a new alignment be considered or traffic control devices developed for the T intersection on the Squirrel Hill/Schenley Park side of the bridge, because that corner has an unsafe sight distance for defensive pedalcyclists anticipating opposing, left-hand turning, speeding motor vehicles?
Does the bridge designer need any geotechnical assistance?
There are two sidewalks now. I’ve only ever used the one on the west side of the bridge, because I live west of the bridge, and the sidewalk in the park is only on the west side. I don’t really see much use in the east sidewalk.
The bridge has three very narrow traffic lanes. Greenfield Rd in the park has “two” traffic lanes. The downhill lane is over two car-widths wide though, so people usually treat it as two lanes. The lanes are too narrow for a PAT bus though, usually they can’t pass anyone on the bridge, and they always need both “lanes” to make the corner to get on the bridge. I’d suggest making it one lane in each direction and putting bike lanes in, but I see how backed up it gets at 4-6pm with the hoards of people shortcutting the Oakland -> Sq. Hill bit of the freeway. Not sure how you could deter people from doing this. Lots of traffic calming on Greenfield Rd?
Note that there’s no reason for the new bridge not to be wider than the current one (well, other than cost).
So it should be possible to get something with sidewalks and bike lanes in both directions.
Is the design work finalized, or is there still time for citizen input?
In the 15 years I have been using that bridge, I have always ridden in the road and run on the sidewalks, never having had a problem with either.
I’ve been pinched into the cement barrier twice, transitioning from Greenfield Rd in the park onto the bridge. I’m usually going at the speed of traffic down the hill, but people still insist on passing going around the corner, while simultaneously moving to the right lane (with me next to them). I saw it coming both times, so injuries/damage was minimal. The other problem is with people crossing over the double yellow to pass me right at the end of the bridge, without knowing who is coming around the corner, as I mentioned above. In that case, I was more worried about the cars crashing in front of me (and then into me).
While I haven’t been using it for 15 years, I have only been using the bridge 2-6 times daily for the past 3 years.
Is there any way we can influence what will happen here? Or is it a done deal?
It will be an inconvenience while the bridge is closed, of course, but that seems OK to me, if the bridge is done well. On the other hand, if it’s done badly, it will be bad for 50 years.
Perhaps somebody or some people could put a big banner up on the bridge (something very secure that wouldn’t blow down into the turnpike below) telling people what’s happening to the bridge
More annoyed commuters, more likely they’ll work in their favor right?
Since the plan is to close the Parkway for awhile during the demolition, this idea might be worth something. Squeaky wheel gets the grease and all that.
It’s a city bridge, right? PennDOT would just be advising, and maybe fretting about the impact on the Parkway below?
Seems like Stephen Patchan, the city’s bike/ped coordinator, would be the first person to talk to, as far as making sure the bike/ped facilities are done right.
As far as building the new bridge next to the old one, I’d be concerned that it could put the new bridge in a more awkward location. At the south end, there are buildings on both sides of the current bridge. Would a parallel bridge need to have some sharp turns at that end to snake around the buildings and connect up? I’m not ready to say they’re making the wrong call on that, without more details on the alternatives.
If penndot is involved, then the city is most likely applying for state and/or federal funding. PennDOT would review the engineering (traffic, structural, geotechnical) investigations and the designs at 30%, 60% and 90% completion.
SPC should be aware of this project, as far as the funding.
It’d be nice to know that Steve or Sara (SPC) has been included within the early conversations for developing the project scope – can’t provide quality solutions to accommodate a mode of travel that wasn’t included within the project scope to investigate, provide results and recommendations to the designer and then have a designer and constructor deliver a product that meets the needs defined in the project scope.
I too wondered where the second bridge was going in the “build a new one next to the old one” plan.
Someone suggested building a temporary (or permanent) bike/ped bridge during construction. That would be both logistically challenging and probably cost prohibitive, but in a perfect world…
Saw these today, and it got me sarcastically thinking “where will they go when the bridge it out?” Which got me thinking about regulations for posting detours. I assume there’s some for cars, but what about peds? (I am legitimately curious, not just being belligerent!)
They were hanging those up as I biked in this morning. I don’t know what the heck they are for, but since they were NAILING them to that post, I estimate peds will be detoured for a while. I bike past there, is the road closed again or something?
The first stage of construction for the portal is starting.
Hmm, interesting. Wonder how I will access the bridge. Do I need to go past Rialtos now?
That portal project went before the Art Commission. I think this is landscaping and signage, and not bridge work. Can anyone confirm?
It is, no bridge work. I was wondering because I use the roads next to the signage to get to the bridge. It looks like I’ll have to alter my commute a few blocks if they close all the lanes next to the island.
Here is what it will look like : http://connectgreenfield.com/new/wordpress/2010/08/14/greenfield-portal-project-update-and-seeking-funding/
Saw this on the Trib Website today.
so 2014-2016 is one year. love that math.
I wonder if they could have done better maintenance on it to preserve it or if at 89 years it’s just at the end of its life.
They should totally put in a zipline for pedestrians. That would be awesome.
Murray, Shady, and Pocusset will become (bigger) nightmares.
They should totally put in a zipline for pedestrians. That would be awesome
Now that is what I call thinking!
why replace the bridge? who says it’s needed? we have plenty of bridges already.
to austerity, and beyond!
i, for one, wish that theyd leave a little bit of the bridge up as a ped/cycle path while they do the work. blowing up the bridge probably makes that impossible. maybe they could install a rope bridge alongside the current one :-p
is there any way to know how many pedestrians and cyclists currently use that bridge without sitting there and counting for a while?
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