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Old June 10th, 2005, 08:21 PM   #1
hkskyline
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Pittsburgh - $400 Million LRT Project Bidding

Pittsburgh-area authority moves forward with rail project
9 June 2005

PITTSBURGH (AP) - The federal government has given the Port Authority of Allegheny County the green light to look for the first bids for a $400 million light rail extension project, the authority's executive director said.

At the beginning of the month, the authority began advertising a bid package for the project's first contract, to dig two tunnels under the Allegheny River from Pittsburgh's downtown to the North Shore. The bids are due July 14.

The Federal Transit Administration encouraged the authority to seek bids, even though the authority and the FTA have not yet signed a funding agreement under which the federal government would pay 80 percent of the project's costs, said authority Executive Officer Paul Skoutelas.

The funding agreement is now before Congress, which could give its approval by mid-July, Skoutelas said.

"We're optimistic and the FTA is optimistic," Skoutelas said. But he added, "the bidding doesn't commit us to anything."

The project will extend the light rail system from Pittsburgh's Steel Plaza to the David L. Lawrence Convention Center and to the North Shore. The authority hopes to break ground on the project by October, Skoutelas said.

------

Information from: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, http://www.post-gazette.com
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Old July 14th, 2008, 09:18 AM   #2
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Pittsburgh light-rail tunnel nearing downtown
3 July 2008

PITTSBURGH (AP) - A boring machine digging a light-rail tunnel under the Allegheny River is expected to reach its destination -- downtown Pittsburgh -- sometime next week.

The light-rail extension is expected to cost the Port Authority of Allegheny County $435 million. The agency runs bus and light-rail service in and around the city.

The 1.2-mile light-rail extension will connect downtown to the city's North Shore where PNC Park and Heinz Field are located. The city's first slot machine casino is slated to open near the same area next year.

The machine started digging the tunnel in January on the North Shore. Once this tunnel is finished, the machine will be turned around and used to dig a second tunnel under the river back to the North Shore.
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Old July 14th, 2008, 07:31 PM   #3
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wow, i didnt know pittsburgh had started construction.

does anybody care about poor pittsburgh, no posts in over 2 years!!!!
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Old July 15th, 2008, 12:26 AM   #4
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Must be some locals out there who care....

I'm glad there's been a huge investment in a city like Pittsburg, especially in the downtown area. Just goes to show that you can get "beyond" deindustrialisation.
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Old July 15th, 2008, 06:22 AM   #5
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I might have had more luck posting in the local forum. But I thought Pittsburgh was a lovely city, one of my favourites in the US. The city centre is well-kept and the river and hillside setting is quite stunning.
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Old July 18th, 2008, 09:42 PM   #6
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North Shore Connector Web : http://www.theboretotheshore.com/

# The North Shore Connector project is a 1.2-mile extension to the current 25-mile light rail transit system, making the total length 26.2 miles, which is also 138,336.2 feet, 46,112 yards, or 4,216,489.3 centimeters.

# Total project cost is $435 million (80 percent federally funded), or more commonly known as four Ben Roethlisberger Contracts.

# The drill boring underneath the Allegheny River weighs around 500 tons, which is about the weight of 100 elephants, or 45,500 badgers.

# By locating the North Side Station under the new SEA parking garage, it’s possible for those destined for Downtown to use fringe parking on the North Shore. Now, downtown workers might not have to spend half their salary on parking.

# The drill will tunnel approximately 20-30 feet per day. Impressive? Kind of. A mole can dig around 75 feet of tunnel per day. If the Port Authority could find a mole the size of their drill, they would be in serious business.

# The project enables future expansion of the T to Pittsburgh International Airport, the Parkway West/Airport Corridor, the North Hills, and other areas within Allegheny County.

# The drill is tunneling 22 feet underneath the Allegheny River, which is 25 feet deep. The tunnel that the drill is digging has a diameter of 22 feet, which means you will be about 66 feet below the surface of the river when you travel on the North Shore Connector.

# Although new to Pittsburgh, underground light rail transit systems are currently being constructed across the country, and across the world. In New York, Seattle, and Los Angeles, tunnel boring machines are working to unite areas of these cities that were struggling to connect. In Sweden and China, tunnel boring machines are connecting areas that are more than 15 miles apart!

# When the drill excavates the dirt, rock, and sludge, it positions air-tight concrete segments that hold the tunnel in place. Sorry, there’s no room for windows!

# The American Public Transportation Association estimates that every dollar invested in public transportation returns up to $6 in economic and other public benefits, and that every $10 million in capital investment sparks up to $30 million in business sales. So, just think of what $435 million will do!

# Construction on the North Shore Connector will be completed by 2011, which is also when the Freedom Tower in New York City will be completed.
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Old November 17th, 2008, 02:10 PM   #7
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$435M rail link under river to aid Pittsburgh sports fans; high cost, short length criticized
17 November 2008

PITTSBURGH (AP) - Many sports-crazed fans who don't want to deal with traffic must walk or take the bus over the bridges of the Allegheny River to watch their Steelers or Pirates.

The city's 25-mile light rail system won't get them to the neighborhood that is home to Heinz Field, PNC Park, museums, and soon, a huge slots casino. It stops short of the river, in downtown Pittsburgh.

But now the commuter line is being extended 1.2 miles through a tunnel under the river in a $435 million project that will take rail users onto the North Shore, whether it's to wave Terrible Towels at Steelers games or admire the work of Andy Warhol.

While a certain convenience for sports fans, the project has drawn criticism for its high cost -- and where it doesn't go.

The Port Authority of Allegheny County says the North Shore Connector, expected to be completed in 2011, is a sound investment in mass transit that will spur development.

But the Allegheny Institute for Public Policy, a conservative think-tank based in suburban Pittsburgh, believes the project will only pay off if it is extended 15 miles to Pittsburgh International Airport.

"We look at things on the basis of their cost and benefits and on a cost-benefit basis, this doesn't come anywhere close," said Jake Haulk, the institute's president.

Port authority officials say it's possible that one day the rail line, called the "T" by locals, would be extended.

But Haulk said that wouldn't happen in the next 20 years. "That's a pipe dream," he said.

Workers have been using a 500-ton boring machine to create two tunnels under the Allegheny.

In July, the machine punched one 22-foot-diameter tunnel through to downtown from the North Shore -- a length of 2,240 feet, said Keith Wargo, project director, on a recent tour. Crews have drilled more than 100 feet of the second tunnel.

As the boring machine eats its way through the earth some 25 feet below the riverbed, workers install interlocking concrete support segments that form the tunnel's lining.

About three-quarters of the extension, or just under a mile, will be underground. The project also includes revamping the current final stop downtown to link it to the extension.

The cost was originally put at $395 million. Eighty percent of the project, or $348 million, is being funded with a federal grant, with 16.66 percent, or about $72.5 million, coming from the state and the rest from local government.

That additional money could come from the authority's capital budget, which could mean delays on other authority projects, said Winston Simmonds, the port authority's rail operations and engineering officer.

He said the Federal Transit Administration approved the project before energy costs began to rise and a global demand for steel, concrete and other construction materials drove prices up beyond the 3.3 percent anticipated annual increase. The project was also to have included a link to the downtown David L. Lawrence Convention Center, but that was dropped because of budget constraints.

Costs are expected to increase even more, though the authority can't say by how much.

"We're looking at different things in terms of the different contracts to see what we can do to reduce costs and mitigate some of the cost overruns, so it would be ill-advised of me to put a number out that we haven't firmly vetted yet," Simmonds said.

Nationwide, public transportation systems are expanding in cities like New York and Washington as ridership increases. Public transit use in the U.S. was up 3 percent the first three months of the year compared with the first quarter of 2007, according to the American Public Transportation Association.

In Pittsburgh alone, nearly than 676,000 people rode light rail in October, up more than 4 percent from about 675,000 passengers in October 2007. Ridership was also up in September and August.

About 27,000 people use the light rail each day, and officials estimate that 14,300 people will use the North Shore Connector daily when it's completed.

The Port Authority estimates its per rider cost at $6, of which most riders pay $2.50, with the balance coming from state and local subsidies. But the Allegheny Institute believes the cost to the agency is even higher.

Kathleen Connolly, of Ben Avon, a suburb just west of Pittsburgh, questioned how many commuters would park on the North Shore and take light rail into downtown. She took light rail Friday to get her driver's license taken downtown.

"The T is nice, beautiful, easy and clean, but it serves the South Hills and Station Square," a shopping and entertainment complex just across the Monongahela River from downtown.

A better project, she said, would be extending light rail west to the airport or to the city's eastern suburbs.

"They're not hiding the fact that it's for entertainment," she said. "It's not for commuter ease."

Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato has said he would have preferred to expand the transportation system elsewhere, but supports the project because he did not want to lose federal funding.

Edmund Effort, a Pittsburgh dentist, was returning to his office Friday after taking light rail two stops to get a haircut. He said he understands criticism of the line, but that cities need good public transportation systems.

"Chicago, New York, Washington -- they all have good systems," he said. "Eventually, it makes sense."

Simmonds, the Port Authority's rail operations officer, said the project has created more than 1,000 jobs. The precast concrete segments that line the tunnel, he noted, were manufactured in nearby Blairsville.

Critics like Haulk said the job creation doesn't justify the project.

The Port Authority has also been criticized for boring a tunnel instead of building a bridge or using an existing one for the project, something officials said would have cost about the same but caused too much downtown disruption.

The Port Authority cut bus routes by 15 percent last year because of rising operational costs, and in January, it implemented a 25-cent fare increase to deal with budget shortfalls. But Simmonds said money for the connector does not come out of operating funds.

The Port Authority is also preparing for a possible strike by 2,200 unionized employees.

The Amalgamated Transit Union Local 85 has been working under terms of a contract that expired June 30, but the authority's board voted last month to impose a new contract on Dec. 1.

The union has scheduled a Nov. 23 strike vote. The last drivers' strike, in 1992, lasted 28 days.
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Old November 17th, 2008, 05:55 PM   #8
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Right on Pittsburgh! PS: I really miss you!!
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Old November 21st, 2008, 08:20 AM   #9
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An eastward extension thro or near Oakland would probably have served Pittsburgh better, & been more cost-effective, but its still good to see the opening of the North Shore extension.

Lets give a salute to Pittsburgh!
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Old November 21st, 2008, 11:54 PM   #10
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THe high cost comes from building a new tunnel. That is not surprising.

If it had been a highway, the cost would have been similar.

I hope Pittsburgh expands its rail service west to the airport and east to the University of Pittsburgh. That area screams for rail transit.
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Old November 22nd, 2008, 03:35 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post

But now the commuter line is being extended 1.2 miles...

But the Allegheny Institute for Public Policy, a conservative think-tank based in suburban Pittsburgh, believes the project will only pay off if it is extended 15 miles to Pittsburgh International Airport.

"We look at things on the basis of their cost and benefits and on a cost-benefit basis, this doesn't come anywhere close," said Jake Haulk, the institute's president.

Port authority officials say it's possible that one day the rail line, called the "T" by locals, would be extended.

But Haulk said that wouldn't happen in the next 20 years. "That's a pipe dream," he said.
Good for Pittsburgh, expanding the T 1.2 miles every 20 years. With some luck, by the end of the century they might reach the airport!
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Old November 23rd, 2008, 04:34 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nouveau.ukiyo View Post
Good for Pittsburgh, expanding the T 1.2 miles every 20 years. With some luck, by the end of the century they might reach the airport!
Lets be fair to Pittsburgh. The North Shore Connector beats what a lot of other older cities have done, even Philly. An eastern extension serving the Hill, Oakland, etc would be nice. But with airline passenger flow way down, can't see much justification for any rail going out to the airport, that's rather far out & it's already served by a busway connector.
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Old January 2nd, 2009, 09:15 AM   #13
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Pittsburgh council member wants more mass transit
29 December 2008

PITTSBURGH (AP) - A Pittsburgh council member plans to ask for a $9,000 study to be conducted to look at the option of establishing a commuter rail line through the city's crowded university district.

William Peduto says he has been advocating the idea for five years. He believes a rail line through the university neighborhood of Oakland would relieve congestion. Peduto says after the study, a proposal will be submitted to Congress to garner federal funding for the project.

Oakland is home to the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University. Both schools have expanded in recent years and more growth is expected.

Officials estimate it will cost about $25 million to convert an existing, lightly used track into a commuter rail line.
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Old January 2nd, 2009, 09:47 AM   #14
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badgers.... really? That was random.

And good for pittsburg, its about time they extended their system.
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Old January 22nd, 2009, 03:37 PM   #15
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Pittsburgh subway tunnel to stop without fed funds
22 January 2009

PITTSBURGH (AP) - The transit agency building a light rail tunnel under Pittsburgh's Allegheny River says work will stop without money from President Barack Obama's proposed $825 million stimulus package.

The tunnel project will extend the Port Authority of Allegheny County's 25-mile light rail from downtown to the neighborhood where Heinz Field, PNC Park and a planned slots casino are located.

Transit officials say rising construction costs have added $118 million to its $435 million price tag. The tunnels were finished last week, but workers must still install tracks and build new passenger stations.

Transit officials say it would cost $21 million to seal the tunnels until money is available to finish the project.
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Old March 19th, 2009, 05:55 AM   #16
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Here are a few recent images: (none are mine)



Project Overview



TBM Breakthrough of Second Tunnel



Completed Segment
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Old March 19th, 2009, 08:11 AM   #17
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Great pictures!

After more than a decade in planning, its fantastic to see the North Shore Connector nearing completion.

It adds another vital link to Pittsburgh's transit network.
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Old November 11th, 2010, 10:41 AM   #18
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PITTSBURGH | Public Transport





The Pittsburgh Light Rail (also known as The T) is a 25-mile (40.2 km) light rail system in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; it functions as a subway in Downtown Pittsburgh and largely as an at-grade light rail service in the suburbs. The system is owned and operated by the Port Authority of Allegheny County. It is the successor system to the streetcar network formerly operated by Pittsburgh Railways.











Last edited by diablo234; November 12th, 2010 at 01:42 AM. Reason: resize pictures
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Old November 11th, 2010, 03:13 PM   #20
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Could you resize your pics?
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