Dynamite sends Greenfield Bridge crashing down onto Parkway East

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PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA — The demolition of the 94-year-old Greenfield Bridge occurred Monday morning, as a closure of the Parkway East due to the implosion continues.

After five years of planning, the implosion sent the bridge crashing onto the Parkway East in seconds. The cleanup process is now underway.The Parkway East closure, which began Sunday morning, will continue for several more days as crews remove thousands of pounds of debris. The closure will impact thousands of people who use the roadway. “It’s going to be a complete nightmare, and I’m not looking forward to it at all,” said Mark Valentine, of Swissvale.

On Sunday, crews covered the Parkway East with a protective pad of dirt and inserted dynamite into the bridge above.

“We’re hopeful that the Parkway can reopen sooner than New Year’s Day. We’ll see what happens,” said Pat Hassett of the Department of Public Works.

Stuart Averbach, of Squirrel Hill, has been preparing for the traffic since the demolition was announced.
“We just avoid Forbes and Murray and hit the side streets, but it will get backed up pretty bad over the next four to five days,” said Averbach.

People within the blast zone were not forced to evacuate, and no drones were allowed in the restricted airspace at the time of the implosion.

The implosion was delayed for about 15 minutes after two people were spotted by state police in the woods, too close to the bridge.

“We were real clear: if you got too close, we weren’t going to detonate the bridge. So you weren’t going to see anything. So, again, we had the state police helping us with that and the Pittsburgh police, and they were removed,” said Guy Costa, Pittsburgh’s chief operations officer.

Dozens of people came out to watch the Greenfield Bridge be reduced to rubble.

“It needs to be rebuilt; it’s in bad shape. It’s ready to be done and it has to be done, so I’m excited,” said Kevin Kelley, a Greenfield resident. “With the bridge closing, it’s not been bad in Greenfield. Beechwood Boulevard is actually clear now instead of lined up all day. But I’m sure with the parkway closed there will be some inconveniences, but it will be worth it in the end.”
Dykon Explosive Demolition was the implosion contractor.