South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

By Al Lowe 

McArdle could open this year

 

The long nightmare for South Side and Mount Washington could be over if work on McArdle Roadway is completed as expected by the end of the year.

Both Robert DiCicco, City of Pittsburgh project manager for buildings and structures, and Mark Stem, City of Pittsburgh project manager for the McArdle project, said McArdle's Viaduct #2 could be open by that time although work is a little behind schedule.

“That's our objective,” said DiCicco. “Our contractors are working hard to get the job done.” The latest delays were caused by finding out steel did not meet test requirements, he said.

However, the date for the opening has not yet been set.

“All the people want to know is when it is going to open,” said Michelle Balcer, a spokesperson for State Senator Jay Costa Jr.

“There's no question that the closing of McArdle has had a devastating effect on South Side and Mount Washington,” said Bill Wagner, nephew and spokesperson for State Senator Jack Wagner.

“It's truly been a saga,” said City Council President Gene Ricciardi. “It's a case study of how if everything can go wrong, it does.”

He said, “it has definitely cost the business community.” The closing has also added to the drive times of residents of both communities he added.

Ricciardi said the city was committed to the project but efforts by the state to move the project along were “really slow.”

Last year residents frustrated by the delay in rebuilding McArdle emailed and phoned to complain to officials that in the time the road has been closed, two stadiums have been built, the Glenwood Bridge was rebuilt and the Fort Pitt Tunnel and Bridge were closed, repaired and reopened.

Penny Folino, president of the South Side Chamber of Commerce and owner of Tom's Diner, complained that the South Side was always given the lowest priority compared to other parts of the city requesting completion of projects.

However, DiCicco and Stem cautioned that work on McArdle's Viaduct #1 also has to be done sometime in the future.

Will it be closed to traffic? “That's a decision that will have to be made by the city's engineering department,” Ricciardi said. It may happen due to safety concerns but hopefully it would not 24 hours a day seven days a week, he said.

“I do have a concern about it,” Ricciardi said. “We need to look at the options. We need community input. Maybe this time around the state will be a little more dynamic.”

There were numerous meetings and much correspondence with officials prior to the closing of McArdle. Often officials blamed the long process of obtaining federal and state funding for delays in the project.

But for now the projected reopening is “good news,” Hugh Brannan, who chairs the South Side Planning Forum, said. Ricciardi added he was “very pleased.”

“It has been a long project,” Brannan said. “There has been a long, extended negative impact on the businesses of the south Side.”

Brannan said he has been receiving regular reports from Fred Reginella, City of Pittsburgh director of Engineering

and construction.

“Unfortunately the project has taken longer than it should have,” Brannan said. “But the community can be happy now.”

 

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