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Traffic = Progress?

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 27, 2011

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I was driving across the Liberty Bridge towards Pittsburgh’s South Side recently, when I was pleased to notice the removal of the containment structure shrouding a nearby truss.  This bridge has been hidden from view for most of the past year, part of rehabilitating the lower section of the McArdle Roadway, a winding passage from the South Side flats (home of Paint BidTracker) up to Mt. Washington, the scenic vantage point for out-of-town visitors.
 
The Penndot project includes replacing sections of elevated roadway and fixing up the highly-visible truss bridge (BidTracker #1947007 if you have access to our premium archive and want to look up the details) (plus the Paintsquare news item here, details from a local bridge enthusiast here,  and a close-up from a local blog here).  The work definitely needed to be done, but it has completely shut down my preferred route home from work.

Pittsburgh has been blessed/cursed with a large number of major road and bridge reconstruction projects this past summer.  And apparently almost all of them sought to interrupt my daily driving schedule.  The McArdle job sent me a new way, but then an unrelated project created a detour along that route, spoiling my revised strategy.  I used to get fairly frustrated by this annual rite of summer, but then I started writing about painting bids.

I read notices for hundreds of contracts each day and write reports about quite a few, and I always pay extra attention to the local jobs (it’s well-documented that Western PA has its share of deficient bridges) .  While I groaned when I realized the scope of the McArdle job (and many others), I can’t help but take note of what needs to be done to keep our most heavily-travelled roadways functional.

And then I can’t help but enjoy watching the progress.  

I’m not saying I love sitting in stop-and-go gridlock, but my job (and a lot of yours) gives me (and you) an inside view of what’s happening behind those tarps.  Our families, friends, and neighbors are dependent on the protective coatings industry (and many others) to maintain our infrastructure, and to provide the jobs this maintenance requires.
 
So while the slow progress of three lanes merging to one can add some extra grit to the daily grind, it’s important to appreciate our insight on the progress these projects produce, from preventing steel corrosion loss and concrete spalling, to buoying a flailing economy through a recession.  Plus the pavement will probably be smoother when you return to your old way home.


   

Tagged categories: Construction; Containment; Roads/Highways; Traffic control

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