Governor Tom Wolf participated in a ribbon cutting ceremony at the Fern Hollow Bridge in Pittsburgh, which is expected to reopen to traffic by the end of December.
The Fern Hollow Bridge, which is owned by the City of Pittsburgh and carries Forbes Avenue over Frick Park, Fern Hollow Creek and Tranquil Trail, collapsed on the morning of January 28, 2022.
“I was here on January 28 to survey the damage from the collapse, and today, less than a year later, I stand before a bridge that is nearly ready to reopen to traffic,” said Gov. Wolf. “This is the power of government working for the people in Pennsylvania. I’m thankful to all of our partners in state, local and federal government for your partnership and coordination to rebuild the Fern Hollow Bridge in less than a year. It’s an honor to be here to celebrate this incredible milestone for Pittsburgh.”
Immediately following the collapse, Gov. Wolf and Mayor Gainey issued Declaration of Disaster Emergency Proclamations, which allowed the City of Pittsburgh to enter into a legal agreement to allow the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) to manage the design and construction of the new Fern Hollow Bridge. The proclamations also provided the Federal Highway Administration and PennDOT the approval to immediately contract with Swank Construction Company and HDR Inc. for the removal of the collapsed structure, and the design and construction of the new Fern Hollow Bridge.
Thanks to collaboration with the City of Pittsburgh and PennDOT’s innovative approach to the standard design process, multiple design phases occurred simultaneously including foundation, substructure, superstructure, utility relocation, environmental and aesthetic aspects of the project, which allowed project delivery to be expedited by multiple years. The bridge is expected to open to traffic by the end of December 2022 – less than a year after the collapse.
“This new bridge is the result of incredible collaboration,” said PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian. “And thanks to the federal investment through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we were able to quickly mobilize to rebuilt this bridge without impacting funds for other important projects.”
Substructure, superstructure, and concrete deck placement work has been completed. Bridge deck overlay and wingwall work will occur through the spring of 2023. Bridge barrier installation, pedestrian railing, and line painting are anticipated to be finished by late December to allow the bridge to open to a single-lane of bi-directional traffic while work continues into early 2023.
Information on the construction of the new Fern Hollow Bridge can be found on PennDOT’s website. To learn more about transportation investments across Pennsylvania, visit projects.PennDOT.gov.