Open for Discussion!

Category:  BloggERy
Monday, January 30th, 2012 at 3:00 PM
Open for Discussion! by Ben Speggen

The McBride Viaduct, which closed June 2, 2010, is now open. Well, at least for discussion, that is.

An open meeting was held today from 1 to 2:30 p.m. in the City Council Chambers for public and safety officials as well as elected representatives to, as stated on the meeting’s agenda, “introduce the McBride Viaduct study, explore issues, and identify stakeholder groups and representatives for the Citizen Advisory Committee.”

According to Brian Krul, consulting team project manager of L.R. Kimball, a two-year study is underway to determine the best possible outcome for the bridge in hopes of bringing resolution to a controversial issue.

The McBride Viaduct stretches 1,170 feet where it carried traffic from East 12th Street and Buffalo Road, spanning the CSX and Norfolk Southern railroad tracks. Built in 1940 and named after the late Monsignor Laurence McBride, who pushed for the bridge, the McBride Viaduct became a point of contention when public support mounted in favor of rebuilding the viaduct rather than tearing it down. The city closed the bridge due to structural problems that classified it as “structurally deficient” and “function obsolete,” according to Pennsylvania Department of Transportation District Executive Bill Petit, who was also in attendance of today’s meeting.  

Petit stated every possible solution needs to be explored regarding the bridge to ensure that it best serves Erie’s businesses and community. According to Petit, a projected 80 percent of the funding for whatever's to come of the bridge will come from the federal level, while 15 percent will come from the state and 5 percent will come from the municipal.

Also in attendance—and to translate highway and architectural speak—Lisa Olszak, public outreach coordinator of Olszak Management, facilitated a discussion surrounding three questions: How is the transportation network, including vehicular, pedestrian, and bicycle traffic operating since the viaduct’s closure; what issues exist in regard to traffic safety, the community, businesses, schools; and, what stakeholder groups should be represented on the Citizen Advisory Committee and who should represent each group?

Tuesday, Jan. 31, a website regarding the project will go live. To update yourself on this issue and voice your opinion regarding the two-year study and schedule, please visit it here:

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