OAKMONT (KDKA) – The Hulton Bridge is officially closed for two weeks and motorists dealt with the detours for the first time this morning.

The bridge closed to traffic at midnight. Most of the 20,000 detoured drivers are being diverted to the Highland Park Bridge.

To help ease traffic flow, police officers were stationed at some of the key intersections along the detours.

Normally, there would be lots of traffic on the bridge, but not today. The only traffic was foot traffic and construction workers reconstructing Hulton Road and the intersection with Third Street.

“[It’s] desolate,” says Rick Aten, of Blawnox, “This looks like 5 o’clock on a Saturday morning.”

Aten says his business will feel the pinch for the next two weeks.

“They’re not going to travel 30-35 miles to go to a barber shop. They’ll find another place to go in the next two weeks,” he said. “I probably should’ve closed the shop and taken a vacation.”

For drivers who normally use the 107-year-old Hulton Bridge, there’s mixed reaction about the detours.

“It’s really not that bad,” Ian Taylor said. “I’ve been going through [New Kensington] since they started construction on the Hulton Bridge, not terrible.”

Many drivers will be detoured right through the heart of Verona, anxious to keep moving and get out of the mess.

“We depend on traffic coming through, so there is concern when they re-route all that,” says Michal Molitierno, of Verona Motors Express Care. “We might have a few slow days there.”

PennDOT Spokesperson Steve Cowan joined “The KDKA Morning News” and says that they are working on reconstructing the intersections from the old bridge, to the new one during the project.

On the Oakmont side of the bridge, they are starting from the ground up to start working on the new intersection for the new bridge. They are doing the same for the Freeport Road side of the bridge.

“Everything is moving forward. We are looking good at this point,” Cowan said.

Oakmont Bakery owner Mark Serrao said the short term inconvenience will be worth it in the long term.

Serrao thinks the new bridge is, “going to have a big impact on our business district. The new bridge has overlooks on it; nice lighting [and] it’s much bigger.”

Here’s PennDOT’s suggested detours:

From the West
• Take Freeport Road (Route 1001) north to Route 910
• Turn left onto Route 910
• Take Route 28 south to the South Route 8 Highland Park Bridge/Aspinwall (Exit 6) interchange
• Take the Highland Park Bridge to southbound Route 8 towards Washington Boulevard
• Follow Washington Boulevard to Allegheny River Boulevard (Route 130)
• Follow Allegheny River Boulevard back to the Hulton Bridge
• End detour

From the East
• Same detour in the opposite direction

Alternate Detour
From the West (not posted)
• Take Freeport Road (Route 1001) north to Route 910
• Turn left onto Route 910
• Take Route 28 north to the Route 366 Tarentum/New Kensington (Exit 14) interchange
• Take Route 366 south
• Continue straight on Logans Ferry Road (Route 2075)
• From Logans Ferry Road bear right onto Coxcomb Hill Road (Route 909/2082)
• Coxcomb Hill Road becomes Hulton Road
• Follow back to 3rd Street
• End detour

From the East (posted)
• Same detour in the opposite direction

The Hulton Bridge is scheduled to re-open on June 25. Until then, drivers should prepare for longer commutes when using one of the alternate routes.

This will be the first of two total closures of the Hulton Bridge. The second will come in late September and will also last two weeks. The new bridge should be open in mid to late October.

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