Washington Street Bridge Updates
A new Washington Street Bridge is on its way! Swissvale Borough Council and representatives of Norfolk Southern Railway have come to an agreement for the replacement of the 116-year old bridge that carries Washington Street over the Norfolk Southern Railroad tracks and the Martin Luther King, Jr. East Busway.
The agreement calls for Norfolk Southern to design, obtain all necessary approvals and construct the bridge at their cost.
No tax money of any kind will be used to build the new bridge. Norfolk Southern will build the bridge in its current location, will construct sidewalks on both sides of the bridge, continue the decorative streetscape lighting on the bridge, supply and install detour signs and provide Swissvale with a one-time payment of $200,000 which will be used as a maintenance fund for future bridge care and repair.
The new bridge will necessitate some changes at the intersection of Palmer Street and Washington Street. The western side of Palmer Street will be closed between Washington Street and Ferguson Way. This area will become a green space. The remainder of Palmer Street between Ferguson Way and Irvine Street will remain open.
Once the bridge is completed, the ownership of the bridge will be transferred to Swissvale Borough. Only minimal maintenance is anticipated for the next 15-20 years, which will include annual bridge washing and inspections, which will be paid for out of the one-time payment made to the borough by Norfolk Southern.
Since all railroads are governed by the Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission (PUC), the PUC must approve the bridge design and construction prior to commencement of construction. Once the PUC approves the bridge plans, Norfolk Southern has agreed to complete the bridge in 20 months.