Pittsburgh finalizing $1.5 million contract for major assessment of city bridges

As reported by Public Source: Pittsburgh is finalizing a $1.5 million contract with a global design firm to assess the state of its many bridges and overhaul the city's systems for maintaining them. The contract is a major milestone in Mayor Ed Gainey's mission to improve the condition of dozens of deteriorating structures that have suffered from a lack of upkeep for decades.

The deal with WSP USA, which will last two years and draw funds from the city's American Rescue Plan allocation, won't directly result in any construction or repairs. Gainey said in May that the city is asking the firm to deliver a comprehensive assessment on the condition and maintenance needs of 150 city-owned bridges by October.

Deputy Major Jake Pawlak said WSP will also help the city's Department of Mobility and Infrastructure become more efficient and strategic in maintaining bridges and finding state and federal funding, allowing it to address the "largest number of bridges as quickly as possible" and implement "a modern, 21st century asset management plan."

Pawlak said the report expected in October will help the administration set priorities for the 2023 budgets, which the mayor must present to City Council in early November. Prioritization will be key: The city is responsible for more than 100 bridges. Most are rated "fair" by state-licensed inspectors, but 20 are rated "poor" – the same rating that was given to the Fern Hollow Bridge months before it fell.

The city is hoping WSP helps it become faster at getting projects "from identified to planned and designed to under construction and then completed," Pawlak said. Delays can cause simpler maintenance needs to decay into much more complex and expensive capital projects, sometimes requiring the total overhaul of a bridge or a replacement.

Read the full article – which includes comments from City Controller Michael Lamb, as well – by visiting Public Source website here.