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Central City plans ahead for bridge replacement

ms consultants, inc.

June 19, 2020

PennDOT representatives and bridge designers told residents they will try to minimize the impact of a bridge replacement project that will cut through the small community’s business district.


Although replacing the Sunshine Avenue, Route 160, bridge across Dark Shade Creek will require a traffic detour, a pedestrian bridge will be constructed to help access nearby businesses, Ryan Dodson, PennDOT project manager, said Tuesday during an open house to present plans to the community. 


“It’s important to maintain pedestrian access, especially in a downtown area,” said Sean Sawford, project manager for MS Consultants Inc. of Allegheny County. 


Borough leaders and emergency responders have been involved with plans for the bridge replacement project, which is slated for the 2021 construction season, Dodson said. Municipal leaders and fire department representatives were briefed Tuesday before the public open house. 


The bridge is located adjacent to the Central City Volunteer Fire Department station, 241 Sunshine Ave., but fire trucks won’t have to follow the six-mile official detour. A shorter, unofficial detour will allow emergency vehicles to access the southern end of the borough by way of Main Street and Shaffer Mountain Road, said. 


PennDOT can only post detours on state roads, so the official detour will take southbound traffic from Route 160, Dark Shade Drive, onto McGregor Avenue past Shade Central City High School, through Cairnbrook on School Road to Lambert Street, which is Route 160. 


Shade Central City School Board president and member of the local sewer authority Bob Mulcahy came to the open house at Central City Borough’s municipal building. He does not believe the project will disrupt Central City daily life very much. Bus routes will have to be adjusted, but that is common practice during construction season, Mulcahy said. 


“I’m just glad you didn’t mess with my sewers,” Mulcahy told the project designers. 


Project engineer Jim O’Mara of MS Consultants said the design of the existing single span, spandrel arch bridge is not conducive to maintaining even one lane of traffic during construction.


Originally posted:  The Tribune-Democrat.