MERCER COUNTY Steel alignment problem brings viaduct project to halt

The new bridge has a slight 'S' shape, according to the county bridge engineer.
SHARON, Pa.-- The Mercer County Bridge Department has halted work on the replacement of the Oakland Avenue Viaduct after learning the new structural steel frames are slightly out of alignment.
The county told Carmen Paliotta Contracting of South Park, Pa., which is getting $3.6 million to replace the 65-year-old concrete bridge, not to pour the concrete decking on the new structure until the county is assured the bridge will be structurally sound, said Mark Miller, county bridge engineer.
Miller said the misalignment gives the 300-foot span a slight "S" shape. The steel frame should be straight but is out of alignment by as much as 3 inches at one point, he said.
The county is awaiting a report from the company's engineer assessing what impact the alignment problem will have on the bridge's structural integrity, he said.
The company has to show the county that the bridge won't be adversely impacted or it will have to fix the problem, Miller said.
The engineering report was expected today and will be reviewed by the county, the county's design consultant and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation before any decision is made, Miller said.
What was planned: The bridge was to be completed by Nov. 30 and the concrete deck should have been poured by now, he said. As it stands now, it's unlikely the deck can be poured before Thanksgiving, he said.
A call to the company seeking comment on the alignment matter wasn't immediately returned.
Paliotta Contracting has asked the county for a 35-day extension on its contract but didn't cite the alignment issue as a reason for the request, Miller said.
Rather, the company said a delay in the arrival of the structural steel was the cause.
It was to be delivered by mid-August but didn't arrive until late September.
Miller said the county has asked for some additional information on the extension request, specifically to determine the original scheduled delivery date and the actual date of the steel's arrival.
If the company can justify the request for an extension, it will likely be granted, although perhaps not for the entire 35 days, Miller said.

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