Detours In Place As Crews Continue Repairs On Liberty Bridge

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – For the first time in history, the Liberty Bridge is closed for a weekday rush hour commute.

Last week, welding sparks ignited an intense fire that burned to 1,200 degrees and began melting the major support beam of the Liberty Bridge. Engineers said it was only minutes away from collapse.

PennDOT is now working around the clock to repair it. That section of the beam is now bent and shrunken, and must be bracketed on both sides by new steel plates. The cost of all this will be on the general contractor, JB Fay.

“Two 12-hour shifts for the laborers and steel workers and others that are working on the site. In addition, we have overnight, engineers are working in the design offices 24/7 on this as one team gets something completed another team’s checking it,” said PennDOT spokesman Dan Cessna. “We traveled all over the East Coast this weekend to procure the necessary materials to get this thing built.”

The goal is to have the temporary repairs completed by Monday. Once those repairs are made, the bridge will reopen to traffic.

“The Herculean efforts of our entire team continues around the clock. This is not a textbook situation, so in developing a repair procedure is a theoretical debate regarding how to perform this work,” Cessna said in a statement. “To accomplish this task we have local engineering firms SAI and HDR and technical experts within PennDOT, industry and academia.”

Gov. Tom Wolf tells the “KDKA Morning News” there are no budget restrictions when it comes to repairing the bridge.

“It’s triage. You immediately get to work and fix it and then figure out the formalities after the fact. There are just a lot of people that have to get to work and who use that artery and we cannot afford to mess around. We’ve got to get [repairs] done as quickly as we can,” Gov. Wolf said.

The Liberty Tunnel reopened to traffic Tuesday morning.

Pittsburgh Public Schools called for a two-hour delay on Tuesday due to the impact of the bridge closure. Officials say the delay will place a majority of students on the road after morning rush hour, “reducing potentially long wait times for the district’s smallest students.”

Some other schools are delaying their schedule as well, check the growing list on our School Delays & Closings page here.

According to PennDOT, here are the posted detour routes:

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

Northbound (Inbound)

  • Take Route 51 (Saw Mill Run Boulevard) northbound
  • Take the exit to I-376 West/US 19 South toward Carnegie/Airport/West End
  • Take Exit 69A toward US 19 South/Banksville Road
  • Keep left and loop back to I-376 eastbound toward Fort Pitt Tunnel
  • Follow eastbound I-376 through Fort Pitt Tunnel and across the Fort Pitt Bridge
  • For access to I-279 destinations follow I-279 signage, all other destinations take exit toward I-376 East/Monroeville
  • Take the left exit 71A to Grant Street
  • Turn left onto Grant Street
  • End detour
(Photo Credit: KDKA)

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

Southbound (Outbound) From Downtown Pittsburgh

  • Take Grant Street to I-376
  • Take the ramp to West I-376 toward Fort Pitt Bridge/Airport
  • Follow I-376 westbound across the Fort Pitt Bridge and through the Fort Pitt Tunnel
  • Take Exit 69A toward South 19 Banksville Road
  • Keep left and loop back to eastbound I-376
  • Take Exit 69B toward South Truck US 19/Route 51 Uniontown
  • Merge onto southbound Route 51 and follow back to the Liberty Tunnel
  • End detour
(Photo Credit: KDKA)

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

Southbound (Outbound) From Westbound Route 885 (Boulevard of the Allies)

  • From the Boulevard of the Allies take the ramp to North I-579 to I-279 Veterans Bridge Exit
  • Take the Convention Center/7th Avenue Exit
  • Turn right onto Grant Street
  • Turn left onto 11th Street
  • Continue straight onto the 10th Street Bypass
  • Take the I-376 West Fort Pitt Bridge/Airport Exit
  • Follow I-376 westbound across the Fort Pitt Bridge and through the Fort Pitt Tunnel
  • Take Exit 69A toward South 19 Banksville Road
  • Keep left and loop back to eastbound I-376
  • Take Exit 69B toward South Truck US 19/Route 51 Uniontown
  • Merge onto southbound Route 51 and follow back to the Liberty Tunnel
  • End detour
(Photo Credit: KDKA)

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

Southbound (Outbound) From Route 380 (Bigelow Boulevard)

  • From PA 380, take the Consol Center/6th Avenue Exit
  • Take the 6th Avenue Exit
  • Turn right onto Grant Street
  • Turn left onto 11th Street
  • Continue straight onto the 10th Street Bypass
  • Take the I-376 West Fort Pitt Bridge/Airport Exit
  • Follow I-376 westbound across the Fort Pitt Bridge and through the Fort Pitt Tunnel
  • Take Exit 69A toward South 19 Banksville Road
  • Keep left and loop back to eastbound I-376
  • Take Exit 69B toward South Truck US 19/Route 51 Uniontown
  • Merge onto southbound Route 51 and follow back to the Liberty Tunnel
  • End detour
(Photo Credit: KDKA)

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

Southbound (Outbound) From I-279 Parkway North

  • From southbound I-279, take the I-279 South Fort Pitt Bridge Exit
  • Take the South I-279/To I-376 Fort Pitt Bridge/Airport Exit
  • Take the West I-376 Fort Pitt Bridge Exit
  • Follow I-376 westbound across the Fort Pitt Bridge and through the Fort Pitt Tunnel
  • Take Exit 69A toward South 19 Banksville Road
  • Keep left and loop back to eastbound I-376
  • Take Exit 69B toward South Truck US 19/Route 51 Uniontown
  • Merge onto southbound Route 51 and follow back to the Liberty Tunnel
  • End detour

Stay With KDKA.com For More Details

Join The Conversation On The KDKA Facebook Page
Stay Up To Date, Follow KDKA On Twitter

Comments

Comments are closed.

More From CBS Pittsburgh

Bringing You The Best in Sports Talk Radio
New Podcast Network
Learn How

Listen Live