Pop City: $5.5M restoration of historic S. Millvale Bridge unveiled, new bike-ped lane opened

by Jennifer Baron, Pop City Media

On Feb. 11, after a $5.5 million restoration and rehabilitation project, the historic 80-year-old S. Millvale Ave. Bridge was reopened for motorist and pedestrian traffic.

Located in central Bloomfield, the 510-foot bridge spans the Martin Luther King, Jr. East Busway and Norfolk Southern Railroad, providing a crucial link between the city’s Baum Blvd. and Liberty Ave. commercial corridors, as well as into Oakland.

The project included strengthening the bridge’s deteriorated superstructure, replacing concrete decks, railings and period lighting, and installing a crash barrier, protective fencing and handrails. Lead paint on the bridge was removed, and a coat of high-performance urethane paint, which is expected to provide decades of protection, was applied. The forest green color of the handrails, light fixtures and facia beams was selected to complement the medium gray used on the bridge’s underside. To replicate the look of the 1928 handrails, the bridge’s new handrail panels were precision cut from three-fourth inch steel plates.

To improve conditions for area cyclists, the bridge will soon be home to shared lane markings, similar to those now found along Bloomfield's Liberty Ave. business district. The bridge also boasts more bike-friendly “share the road” signage and drainage grates.

Pittsburgh’s Department of Public Works oversaw the rehabilitation in partnership with project designer, HDR and construction contractor, Brayman Construction. SAI Consulting Engineers provided construction management and inspection services.

The project, which was supported by PennDOT and the Federal Highway Administration, is expected to extend the functionality of the bridge to at least 2050.

Writer: Jennifer Baron
Sources: Pat Hassett, Department of Public Works; Alecia Sirk and Joanna Doven, City of Pittsburgh; Scott Bricker, Bike Pittsburgh

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