CANONSBURG – Drivers who rely on the South Central Avenue bridge to cross Chartiers Creek on their way in or out of downtown Canonsburg will have to find a new route starting next week.
Lane restrictions will begin Monday before the 82-year-old span is closed to traffic about 7 a.m. Thursday. The bridge will be demolished and replaced with a steel, multigirder bridge to carry about 6,200 vehicles across the creek each day, said Jeff Corazzi, project manager for the state Department of Transportation. Beech Construction Inc. is the contractor for the project expected to be completed by Nov. 17. Corazzi said utility work delayaed the start date and pushed back the completion date, originally set for October.
Among the 6,200 vehicles that regularly use the span are Canon-McMcMillan School District buses.
“It will be an aggravation,” admitted Michael Daniels, school district superintendent. “But at the same time, the problems will be somewhat alleviated because we knew about it well in advance. We will be rerouting some of the buses using Strabane and Chartiers avenues and Jefferson Avenue.”
The superintendent said South Central Avenue (Route 980) is one of the main arteries used by bus traffic.
“We get excellent support from the police. They are always so cooperative. We work well together.” Daniels added. “It will be a significant inconvenience, but we will make it work. The improvements to the bridge are necessary.”
While the posted detour will instruct drivers to take Route 980 to Route 519 to Pike Street in Houston, Canonsburg police Chief Alex Coghill anticipates many motorists will chose to take neighborhood streets the school district plans to use for some of their temporary routes.
“It will be difficult to get the buses through those residential areas,” he said. “Plus, I expect to see an increase in traffic. I am sure during the rush hour, between 4 and 5 p.m., it will be busy.”
Coghill expects to increase the presence of officers on the streets he expects drivers will use as a detour, monitoring stop signs and the speed of vehicles.
“We’ll adapt,” Coghill said.
Daniels said other school districts coming to Canon-Mac schools for things likes fall sporting events will be notified of the closure. He also plans on making announcements about it on social media.
The work also includes improvements to signs, pavement markings, drainage and handicapped-accessible ramps. Corazzi said he is hopeful the project can be done sooner than November.