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SHARON PennDOT works to reopen freeway damaged in blast



Published: Tue, June 26, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



State Street Bridge downtown will be closed to pedestrians during the Small Ships Revue.

SHARON, Pa. -- A section of the Shenango Valley Freeway that was damaged Saturday by the implosion of the Oakland Avenue Viaduct will be inspected today.

Police Chief Raymond Greene said the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation was to inspect the damage today and determine how repairs should be made.

The concrete viaduct dropped 60 feet during the implosion, landing atop an earthen cushion placed on the four-lane freeway to protect the road surface.

Washed out: However, that section of the freeway passes over a culvert carrying Pine Run and there was apparently a lot of washed out area alongside the culvert that no one knew about, Greene said.

The falling bridge caused the road to collapse into those washed out areas on both sides of the culvert, he said, noting that one of the indentations in the road was about 2 feet wide and 5 feet deep.

The holes could be filled and the freeway reopened today, he said.

State Street: Meanwhile, PennDOT has begun repairs on the State Street Bridge over the Shenango River in the downtown business district, impeding east-west traffic in the city.

The state imposed a 5-ton weight limit on the bridge June 1 after an inspection team found that a number of support girders had rusted through.

Greene said the bridge will be closed for the annual Small Ships Revue on the river Friday evening.

No one will be allowed on the bridge to watch the boats go by, he said. The bridge normally has hundreds of spectators lined up two and three deep on both sides.

The bridge should get a weight rating of 15 tons after repairs are made. PennDOT plans to replace the entire structure in 2005.




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