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A much-needed reconstruction of Bowman Avenue in the city's Highland Grove neighborhood is expected to begin in a few weeks.
At Wednesday's meeting, McKeesport City Council by 6-0 vote awarded a $181,260 contract to Morgan Excavating of Belle Vernon to dig out the existing bricks, install a new roadbase, and resurface the road from the North Versailles Twp. line to near Cliff Street. Councilman Jim Barry Jr. was absent.
The repairs will require a complete shutdown of the road to through traffic, said Steve Kondrosky, city public works director, and a detour will be posted.
Mayor Michael Cherepko said the repairs are only the first phase of a reconstruction project that eventually will see the busy thoroughfare rebuilt all the way down to the entrance to the McKeesport-Duquesne Bridge.
"It's a major project, but it needs to be done," Cherepko said. "It's a highly traveled road." The total cost of the work, he predicted, could approach $1 million.
About 6,700 vehicles use the so-called "S-bend" section of Bowman Avenue every day, according to figures from the Western Pennsylvania Regional Data Center. The heaviest time of day is between 2 and 4 p.m.
Approximately $100,000 of the paving cost will be paid for by an Allegheny County Community Infrastructure and Tourism Fund grant, Cherepko said, while the city hopes to pay for the remainder from its share of Pennsylvania's tax on gasoline and diesel fuel.
While closing the road to through traffic while the work is being done isn't ideal, Cherepko said, it substantially reduced the cost of the reconstruction project, because the city will not have to pay the added cost of flaggers through the work zone.
The approved detour will send motorists to East Fifth Avenue (Route 148), Cherepko said. Local access for residents of Highland Grove, as well as for emergency vehicles, will be maintained, Kondrosky said.
Cherepko said the city has attempted to repair holes in the "S-bend" of Bowman Avenue, but the patches don't stay in place for more than a few weeks.
Bowman serves as a short cut to Route 30 and connects to East Pittsburgh-McKeesport Boulevard, which in turns feeds the Tri-Boro Expressway serving Braddock and Turtle Creek.
"We are probably going to have to look into putting a weight limit on that road, because we have a lot of heavy truck traffic that comes down from North Versailles," Cherepko said. Posting a weight limit, and an approved truck route, will require a cooperative effort with North Versailles Twp. and Allegheny County, the mayor said.
Morgan Excavating's bid was the lowest of three received by the city, officials said.
Originally published May 03, 2018.