PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The contractor responsible for the fire on the Liberty Bridge could be facing millions in fines.
The contractor, Joseph B. Fay, is being fined $8,400 per hour that the bridge is closed. Additionally, they face a $12,000 fine per day that the ramp to the Boulevard of the Allies is closed.
Should the bridge remain closed until Monday as expected, the total fine could be $1,917,000.
Now that the repair plans have been approved and work has begun, PennDOT is working to get the bridge fixed and reopened as quickly as possible.
“The plans have been approved this morning, and we’re in prefabrication meetings at this time,” PennDOT District 11 Executive Dan Cessna said.
Cessna says the steel fabrication crews worked Wednesday evening and will continue through the night to get the parts made.
“It’s a considerable number of pieces, but again, we’re only spanning 30 feet,” he said.
The iron workers on site today were doing the prep work needed to install the fix once the parts arrive Thursday. With the parts will come detailed installation instructions from the engineers.
“It’s extremely important that the tedious nature of this is taken into consideration,” Cessna said.
But as far as how long it’s going to take to get the work finished, Cessna says, “We don’t have any estimate on a time frame yet. But we feel comfortable about our schedule.”
Until then, the 55,000 drivers who use the bridge daily will have to find another way.
PennDOT officials are monitoring the backups and detour routes and have seen room for improvement.
“Some minor tweaks, officer locations, we will work on that throughout the day getting feedback still from some of the folks that were on those posts,” Cessna said.
Drivers who take the Parkway West are feeling the effects of the added detour traffic.
“Bottom of Carnegie up to the top of Green Tree Hill backed up bumper to bumper, but overall about 15 minutes to get up the hill,” Rich Reitmeyer said.
The Port Authority also added a dozen buses and put extra trains on the T lines. A route foreman was at every T station Wednesday morning to help get as many people on the trains as possible.
Cessna tells the “KDKA Morning News” after the construction to reopen the bridge is completed, they will continue the Liberty Bridge rehabilitation project.
“We’ll pick up where we left off last Friday afternoon, back to the two lanes inbound in the morning, one lane outbound and then flip flop for the afternoon,” Cessna said.