The reopening date for the Canonsburg Lake Bridge has been delayed after unexpected drainage issues were discovered earlier this month just as construction was about to wrap up.
The bridge was supposed to open Oct. 13, but the contractor ran into water runoff problems from a nearby shopping center on Route 19, which is delaying the asphalt paving on the approaches to the reconstructed span that takes traffic on McDowell Lane across the lake.
While no firm date has been set, Washington County Planning Director Lisa Cessna said they are hopeful the project will be completed by late October or early November. She expected to be able to announce a more definitive timeline later this week.
“All that is left is the paving,” Cessna said, adding that there is some urgency because asphalt plants are beginning to shutter as cold weather approaches.
She said the general contractor for the project, Carmen Paliotta Contracting of South Park, will not face a penalty from the state Department of Transportation because the drainage problem was unforeseen. PennDOT would make the decision on any penalties, she said, because the bulk of the $5.19 million project was paid for using state funds. A phone call to Carmen Paliotta Contracting was not returned Monday.
The delay is concerning to nearby businesses and neighborhoods that have been cut off from a quick trip to Route 19 and have instead had to use lengthy detours since the bridge was closed last December.
Patricia Knapp, the managing director of Little Lake Theatre Company, said the contractor told her recently that the bridge could open as soon as Oct. 26, but she’s unsure about the firmness of that date.
“He was shooting for that date, but I don’t know if they’re going to get there or not,” Knapp said. “We’re rolling with the punches, at this point.”
The theater company has a show that closes this weekend and will be impacted by the continued delay as visitors will have to use the detour. But Little Lake has another production beginning Nov. 4, so Knapp is hopeful the bridge can at least be completed in time for their final shows of the season.
“We have three more shows, so we’d love for it to be open for the last three,” she said. “But we’re not getting any other information.”
The eastern section of McDowell Lane has been closed since Dec. 7 when crews began working to replace the narrow bridge over Canonsburg Lake with a wider span that will also include a sidewalk for pedestrians.