Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Downtown Traffic Woes to Continue near Historic Frick Building

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Downtown Traffic Woes to Continue near Historic Frick Building

Article excerpt

Drivers could face a month of scrambled traffic Downtown as workers secure the historic Frick Building.

Lane closures on Forbes Avenue and Grant Street may continue up to four weeks to safeguard passers-by after granite fell some 250 feet from the building's cornice over the weekend, Pittsburgh Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich said Tuesday. A northbound lane of Grant could reopen as early as Thursday morning, although other reopenings will take longer, he said.

"There is some concern, still, about the building," Mr. Hissrich said, addressing reporters on a barren stretch of Grant near Forbes. He urged people to stay outside yellow police tape near the landmark, 437 Grant St., in case more stone breaks free from the 115-year-old structure.

"All it takes is just one piece falling from 250 feet to injure or kill someone," Mr. Hissrich said. "We still have to exercise some caution here, make sure the public's safe."

A stone piece estimated at roughly 9 cubic feet -and nearly 1,500 pounds - plummeted from the building's southwest corner some time late Saturday or early Sunday. Shortly before 3 a.m. Sunday, someone alerted emergency responders to debris in the roadway at Grant and Forbes, according to the city. No injuries were reported.

Officials have since shut Forbes between Ross Street and Cherry Way, plus Grant Street between Fourth and Fifth avenues, as a precaution amid repair plans. Mr. Hissrich said the city should know by Wednesday whether a northbound lane of Grant can reopen in time for Thursday morning's rush hour.

City leaders said they are collaborating with the building owner, New Jersey-based Rugby Realty, to address the roughly 21-story property. The city and the company are designing a temporary Jersey-barrier-style wall to contain debris from any further collapses, said Maura Kennedy, the city director of permits, licenses and inspections. …

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