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GASP Joins Mayor, Officials, for Kickoff of City’s First ‘Clean Construction’ Project

GASP’s Rachel Filippini

Group Against Smog and Pollution (GASP) executive director Rachel Filippini joined Mayor Bill Peduto and other local officials Thursday in the Duck Hollow section of Pittsburgh for the kickoff of the city’s first “Clean Construction” project.

The City of Pittsburgh Department of Mobility and Infrastructure is set to begin reconstruction of the McFarren Street Bridge over Nine Mile Run, which is the first such project to be performed following the city’s “Clean Construction” guidelines.

GASP, which has long been supportive of the Clean Construction legislation, called the project an important milestone for the city.

“We are happy to finally see a city project include the clean construction requirements,” Filippini said. “We know that diesel particulate matter poses one of the greatest cancer risks from any toxic outdoor air pollutant and that black carbon found in diesel pollution is a potent global warming agent.”

She noted that diesel pollution has been shown to cause asthma, cancer, and other negative health impacts.

Filippini also acknowledged that further steps will be needed to ensure green construction in Pittsburgh is the rule rather than the exception to it.

“This project has been a long time coming and represents an important first step in advancing greener construction in Pittsburgh,” she added. “While we think the city’s clean construction legislation is important, its impact is unfortunately limited. To have a greater impact, we will need the Urban Redevelopment Authority, Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority—and other groups that undertake considerably more activity than the city—to also adopt the policy.”

The guidelines require all city government construction projects that cost more than $2.5 million to use diesel emission control strategies on construction vehicles, including the use of ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel.

By way of  background: The Clean Construction guidelines were introduced by then-city Councilman William Peduto in 2011 and revised in 2016 in and effort to “make them easier to follow for contractors.”

Mayor Bill Peduto

The McFarren Bridge project in the city’s Duck Hollow neighborhood is the first major project to come under these revised guidelines.

“This project allows the City of Pittsburgh to be a model for construction activities that are responsible to both the planet and our budget’s bottom line,” Mayor Peduto said.

As part of the project, a new steel girder bridge will be constructed to provide access to the Duck Hollow neighborhood. The bridge will carry two lanes of traffic. One side of the bridge will include a sidewalk.

The new bridge will connect Old Browns Hill Road with McFarren Street, upstream of the existing Second Avenue Bridge and the CSX Railroad Bridge. The new bridge will replace the existing Second Avenue Bridge which has an 11-ton weight restriction.

Access to the neighborhood will be maintained throughout construction. Construction is expected to begin in May and is expected to be complete in the summer of 2020.

Editor’s Note: We would be remiss if we didn’t mention our appreciation toward so many other stakeholders who were inherent to getting this “clean construction” legislation off the ground. We’re looking at you, Pittsburgh UnitedClean Water ActionSierra Club of PennsylvaniaSEIU, and so many others!

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