Pittsburgh’s Red Line reopens following bridge repairs and trackwork

May 24, 2022
Repairs to the Saw Mill Run Boulevard Bridge and accelerated track projects have kept the Red Line trains from operating along its full route.

The Port Authority of Allegheny County returned Red Line trains to their regular route on May 24 and will be ending the shuttle bus service that has been in place since the unexpected shutdown of the Saw Mill Run Boulevard Bridge on Feb. 4.

Rail crews, which Port Authority called “the best at what they do,” completed overnight testing of light-rail vehicles on the line in a process the authority called grueling. While the light-rail line is open, Port Authority says it will keep one bus shuttle running during the morning for people not aware the line has reopened.

"Following successful testing overnight, we were able to put the Red Line back into regular service very early this morning," Port Authority posted on its Facebook page. "Thank you to all the riders who have been inconvenienced for the last few months. We truly appreciate your patience during the repairs to the Saw Mill Run Boulevard Bridge and the subsequent work at Fallowfield Station."

The bridge, which hosts rail and bus traffic, was closed when engineers noticed an expanded joint on the deck of the bridge. Port Authority said the unexpected shift was caused by water penetration on a portion of the concrete support structure followed by freezing temperatures. The original cost of the repairs to the bridge was expected to top $2 million and take up to 12 weeks to complete.

Crews worked during shutdown in traffic to reposition the section of the bridge that shifted and installed new supports, anchor bolts, rail joints and bearings. Buses were cleared to start using the bridge again on May 14. However, light-rail traffic remained suspended because Port Authority took advantage of the shutdown to accelerate two capital projects.

The two projects, Fallowfield Station repairs and nearby light-rail track replacements, were scheduled later in 2022 and would have required a shutdown of the Red Line. Performing the work now limited inconvenience to riders.

The work on Fallowfield Station in Pittsburgh’s Beechview neighborhood includes repairing the concrete platforms and metal railings, replacing tactile pads, refurbishing overhead canopies and painting various areas of the station.

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Editor in Chief

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the magazine’s editorial direction and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.