New bridge to open in place of collapsed Pittsburgh span

Dec 20, 2022, 9:12 PM | Updated: Dec 21, 2022, 11:50 am
Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, left, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, Pittsburgh Mayor ...

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, left, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey, and Pennsylvania State Senator Jay Costa walk across the rebuilt Fern Hollow Bridge before a dedication ceremony in Pittsburgh on Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2022. The original bridge collapsed during a snow storm on Jan. 28, 2022. The collapse of the Fern Hollow Bridge became a symbol of the country's troubled infrastructure. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

              Pennsylvania State Senator Jay Costa, left, and Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald walk on the rebuilt Fern Hollow Bridge in Pittsburgh before a dedication ceremony on Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2022. The original bridge collapsed during a snow storm on Jan. 28, 2022. The collapse of the Fern Hollow Bridge became a symbol of the country's troubled infrastructure. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
            
              Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, right, and Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald attend a dedication ceremony for the rebuilt Fern Hollow Bridge in Pittsburgh on Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2022. The original bridge collapsed during a snow storm on Jan. 28, 2022. The collapse of the Fern Hollow Bridge became a symbol of the country's troubled infrastructure. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
            
              Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, right, gives remarks during a dedication ceremony for the rebuilt Fern Hollow Bridge, as a group of bridge workers listen, in Pittsburgh on Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2022. The original bridge collapsed during a snow storm on Jan. 28, 2022. The collapse of the Fern Hollow Bridge became a symbol of the country's troubled infrastructure. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
            
              This aerial image taken with a drone, shows the new Fern Hollow Bridge, that is being dedicated Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2022 in Pittsburgh. After the original bridge collapsed into a ravine on Friday, Jan. 28, 2022, the Fern Hollow Bridge became a symbol of the country's troubled infrastructure. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
            
              This aerial image taken with a drone, shows the new Fern Hollow Bridge, that is being dedicated Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2022 in Pittsburgh. After the original bridge collapsed into a ravine on Friday, Jan. 28, 2022, the Fern Hollow Bridge became a symbol of the country's troubled infrastructure. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
            
              Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, left, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey, and Pennsylvania State Senator Jay Costa walk across the rebuilt Fern Hollow Bridge before a dedication ceremony in Pittsburgh on Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2022. The original bridge collapsed during a snow storm on Jan. 28, 2022. The collapse of the Fern Hollow Bridge became a symbol of the country's troubled infrastructure. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Pennsylvania officials say a newly built bridge to replace the one that collapsed earlier this year in Pittsburgh will open to traffic by the end of December.

Gov. Tom Wolf and other state and local officials marked the announcement Wednesday by walking across the new Fern Hollow bridge and holding a ribbon-cutting. Wolf called the speedy work “the power of government working for the people in Pennsylvania.”

The 50-year-old bridge carries Forbes Avenue over Frick Park, Fern Hollow Creek and Tranquil Trail, and collapsed on the morning of Jan. 28 — hours before President Joe Biden arrived in the city to promote his $1 trillion infrastructure law, which earmarked about $1.6 billion for Pennsylvania bridge maintenance.

The collapse sent a city bus and four cars about 100 feet (30 meters) down a ravine carved by the creek. Another vehicle drove off the east bridge abutment and landed on its roof.

No one died, but a few people required hospital treatment — including at least two for serious injuries — and rescuers had to rappel down a ravine and form a human chain to reach a few passengers on the bus.

Natural gas lines along the bridge ruptured, causing a large gas leak and evacuation of nearby homes.

The National Transportation Safety Board has said it is investigating the cause of the collapse.

Up to $25.3 million in federal funds were bring used to build a new structure, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has said.

Officials say they sped up the work by several years by running multiple design phases simultaneously, including foundation, substructure, superstructure, utility relocation, environmental and aesthetic work.

When it opens, the bridge will have a single-lane of bi-directional traffic, while work continues into next year, including completing the bridge deck overlay.

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New bridge to open in place of collapsed Pittsburgh span