Construction workers have laid the first beam in a reconstruction of the Fern Hollow Bridge that collapsed suddenly earlier this year.
Officials, announcing the start of construction during a press conference this afternoon, say they hope to complete the work within the next five months.
“We’re moving extremely, extremely fast,” said Cheryl Moon-Sirianni, a district executive for PennDOT. “We’re looking hopefully to have this bridge open by the end of the year.”
Following the collapse on Jan. 28, the city declared a state of emergency in order to expedite the rebuilding process. Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey said the fast turnaround reflects the keen cooperation of officials at the local, state, and national levels.
“Today brings us one day closer to restoring a vital piece of our city — our infrastructure,” Gainey said. “Every day that we go without this bridge in place is a day that we reroute 18,000 vehicles.”
Moon-Sirianni says a precise cost for the entire project is not yet known, but she hopes it will stay below a $25.3 million federal allocation granted to the project.
“If we would happen to go over that then we will be scrambling,” she said.