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Belle Vernon-Speers Bridge work set for next summer | TribLIVE.com
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Belle Vernon-Speers Bridge work set for next summer

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Barry Reeger | Trib Total Media
PennDOT will paint and repair the 63-year-old Belle Vernon-Speers bridge along Interstate 70 next summer. Work is expected to take two construction seasons and involve traffic pattern changes.
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Barry Reeger | Trib Total Media
PennDOT will paint and repair the 63-year-old Belle Vernon-Speers bridge along Interstate 70 next summer. Work is expected to take two construction seasons and involve traffic pattern changes.

PennDOT will preserve a bridge that has spanned the Monongahela River for more than six decades.

The work will kick off next summer on the Belle Vernon-Speers Bridge along Interstate 70, PennDOT officials said.

The bridge work, estimated to cost $20 million to $30 million, will take two construction seasons to complete, PennDOT officials said.

More than 34,000 vehicles use the bridge daily.

Motorists will be restricted to one-lane travel at times next year.

“The bridge project is a preservation project,” said Don Herbert, a bridge engineer with PennDOT’s District 12.

PennDOT will advertise for bids for the work in December, with awards scheduled for April or May, PennDOT project manager Jeremy Hughes said.

Herbert compared doing work on the 2,064-foot bridge to a motorist doing routine maintenance on a car to avoid costlier repairs later — but on a much larger scale.

Crews will work on the bridge between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. Sundays through Fridays, Hughes said.

One-lane travel in both directions will occur at times during construction, he said.

Two-lane travel will continue when crews are not on site.

Work will not be scheduled during busier travel hours over the weekend, Hughes said.

On two or three early mornings, a complete bridge shutdown will take place for a few minutes, the project manager said.

Workers will paint the bridge, repair piers and abutments, and repair or replace any expansion joints. A lightweight, thin epoxy will be used as a deck overlay.

The deck is newer and the epoxy “will serve to protect the deck,” helping to seal it from road salt, Herbert said.

“Another benefit to this system, they tend to hold some salt and deicing chemicals from storm to storm,” he said.

Costs will be paid through federal and state money, officials said.

Crews will work daylights on areas of the bridge not easily visible to motorists, Hughes said.

Built in 1951, the bridge underwent rehabilitation in the mid-1990s.

Repairs were made to the span after a 2006 vehicle fire.

Bob Stiles is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724- 836-6622 or [email protected].

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