PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Atlanta’s I-85 inferno demonstrated the fiery potential of PVC pipes stored beneath a roadway that goes up in flames.
The collapsed section of that road leaves 250,000 drivers a day in a detour nightmare.
The fire is reminiscent of the Liberty Bridge PVC pipe fire in September that nearly took down the span.
“Anytime you see a crisis on a bridge, it makes you think about your own situation,” said PennDOT District 11 Executive Dan Cessna.
So how much control does PennDOT have over what’s stored beneath the roads we drive on?
“Many overpasses, we simply don’t own the land underneath,” Cessna said.
So as PennDOT inspects its bridges every two years, it looks for items of concern down below.
“We routinely do write letters to property owners to remove various things that are of concern to us,” Cessna said.
Beneath the North Shore Expressway, Wilson Supply leases a space, and the management tells KDKA they don’t store anything flammable and are inspected by PennDOT.
But some things seem to fall into Cessna’s items of concern.
“It’s wood, it could be vehicles, it could be equipment, concerns for fuel, things like that,” he said.
Beneath the exposed steel of the Route 65 bridges along Beaver Avenue, Lane Construction has items stored for it’s work on Route 65 that carry fire warnings, including a fueling station.
“We have asked for a review of all our construction sites right now just to make sure we are reviewing that sort of thing and if we have any concern we will ask our contractors to remove them,” Cessna said.