Old Hulton Bridge likely to live on in W.Pa. construction projects
Alle-Kiski Valley residents may not have seen the last of the old Hulton Bridge.
Its steel someday could end up in a local construction project once it is recycled by P.J. Greco Sons Inc.
John Greco, owner of the East Deer scrap yard named after and founded by his grandfather, said his company is working with Hulton Bridge contractor Brayman Construction Corp. to haul away more than 2,000 tons of rusty, lavender-painted steel.
Brayman and subcontractor Demtech, both based in Clinton Township, on Tuesday used explosives to implode the bridge and drop it into the Allegheny River. The bridge connected Harmar and Oakmont.
Brayman has until Friday morning to clear the debris from the main 300-foot shipping channel.
Brayman project engineers did not respond to requests for comment Wednesday on whether the removal work remains on schedule. Representatives of PennDOT and the Army Corps of Engineers also could not be reached.
Full removal of the bridge, including its stone piers from the river and a small section of bridge over Norfolk Southern tracks in Harmar, is expected to be finished in May.
Greco said he anticipates it will take about two weeks to haul away the steel to his East Deer scrap yard and a sister scrap yard in East Franklin.
Greco's company is not directly involved in fishing the bridge pieces from the river.
Rather, Greco provides large roll-off containers on the Harmar riverbank for Brayman's crews to fill. Greco will swap out the filled containers with empties as needed.
“We keep doing that until all of the bridge is out of the river,” Greco said. “It should all be out of the river and into our yards in, I'm going to guess, 10 to 15 days.”
He said it's not the first time his company has worked with Brayman or been involved in a bridge demolition. Greco also collected steel from the Freeport and East Brady bridges during those replacement projects, both contracted to Brayman.
Although project officials have estimated the Hulton Bridge contained about 2,200 tons of steel, Greco said he believes only about 1,600 tons were dropped into the river since pieces were removed prior to demolition.
Since it is a sizable project, Greco said they're dividing the steel between the East Deer and Armstrong County scrap yards for faster processing.
“That's so we don't overwhelm one yard,” he said. “It would be a lot for one facility to handle on its own.”
Greco declined to put a value on the steel.
“All the steel prices are down to their lowest level since 2009,” he said. “The markets are depressed right now.”
According to Greco's website, prepared plate and structural steel was selling for about $5.50 per hundredweight in November. That would give 2,000 tons of steel a value of about $220,000.
John Greco said each chunk of bridge steel will be sheared into several large pieces and sold to steel mills to be melted down and reused.
“It's definitely going to be recycled,” he said. “It will become something new someday.”
Liz Hayes is a Tribune-Review staff writer. She can be reached at 724-226-4680 or [email protected]