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Construction begins on pedestrian bridge between East Liberty and Shadyside

The Urban Redevelopment Authority began construction this week on the $1.5 million pedestrian bridge that will connect Shadyside and East Liberty at the intersection of Ellsworth Avenue and Spahr Street.

URA Executive Director Rob Stephany says it is one of the first artist-designed pedestrian bridges in the state and will offer a more direct connection between the neighborhoods. With Negley and Highland Avenues the only connectors the public was forced to take longer routes. "It's a really thoughtful way to connect economic systems, as well as neighborhoods," he says.

Scheduled to open December 27, the bridge will be bike and pedestrian friendly. The URA is working with SAI Consulting Engineers and Frank J. Zottola Construction Inc. on building the bridge. Pittsburgh-born artist Sheila Klein designed the bridge, with assistance from Heinz Endowments, while the Office of Public Art worked with the communities to negotiate infrastructure. PennDOT is the lead funder for the project.  Once constructed, the bridge will be dedicated to the City of Pittsburgh.

Stephany explains the bridge will feature a number of artistic touches such as restored historic handrails and medallions from the Pittsburgh Glass Center. By connecting the shops on Center and Ellsworth Avenues, the bridge will create an intimate bond between the two, he adds.

In addition, Stephany says the URA seeks to make the biggest off-site impact it can. "It's a game-changer from a system standpoint," he says. It will change the way shoppers shop by giving them more options that are easily accessible.

During construction, Ellsworth Avenue between Spahr St. and Lamont Place will be closed to traffic in both directions. It will be open to local and business traffic only from Maryland Avenue to Spahr Street and to local traffic only from Shady Avenue to Lamont Place.

Spahr Street will be open to local and business traffic only from Alder Street to Ellsworth Avenue, and traffic northbound on Spahr Street will only be able to make a left hand turn onto Ellsworth Avenue. (westbound).

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Writer: Alex Audia
Source: Rob Stephany, URA

Image courtesy of the URA
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