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Demolition Plans Revealed For St. Nicholas Church

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- There are new details on the construction on Route 28.

A major hang up for the project has been St. Nicholas Church. On Thursday, demolition plans for the church were revealed, but there are also big changes that drivers will see starting on Friday.

The progress on the Route 28 reconstruction project comes to a quick halt as you turn the curve into the stretch that runs past St. Nicholas Church.

This will be the final phase of the project, and PennDOT won't let the contracts here until next summer, leaving plenty of time for PennDOT to consider the possibility of design changes.

As a crew removed asbestos, the city, Diocese, contractor and PennDOT met at the church Thursday morning to discuss the plan to bring the building down the third week of December

Pittsburgh Demolition Manager Paul Loy says it will leave behind "a sloped hillside… up against the retaining walls that are in the back of the property."

Only a few specific items will be preserved.

"The statue in the grotto, the bells, the cornerstone and I believe the cross on the roof are all going out to the St. Nicholas in Millvale," said Loy.

The work will require lane closures and possibly closing the road completely for short periods of time.

But Loy says the contractor is planning to do the work during the overnight hours and will leave rush hours alone.

Once the buildings are gone by year's end the way will be clear for PennDOT to consider adjusting its road plan to straighten out or possibly widen the last piece of 28, but the land still belongs to the Diocese and PennDOT is not commenting on any potential design change.

PennDOT, however, is warning drivers about the change that is coming on Friday when northbound drivers will be moved over to the new asphalt of the driving lane that dips beneath the 31st Street Bridge area.

The concern?

"Motorist coming northbound, I'm sure, are going to be taken by surprise on Friday afternoon," said PennDOT's Jim Struzzi. "So, they probably want to expect some more significant heavier traffic delays in the northbound direction simply because it's new, because it's new and people will be shocked."

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