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First Steps For Demolition Of Fern Hollow Bridge Underway

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - Major work continues at the site of the collapsed Fern Hollow Bridge, more than a week after it crumbled under a Port Authority bus and several other vehicles.

Things are ramping up at the site with demolition equipment and construction crews working. Their first job is to help the National Transportation Safety Board investigators as they figure out why the bridge fell.

"The way the bridge fell, there is a lot of things on top of one another and obviously you just can't lift them up and move them. It requires large pieces of machinery," said PennDOT District 11 District Executive Cheryl Moon-Sirianni.

Photo Credit: KDKA Photojournalist Ian Smith

Swank Construction is handling the demolition job. Sirianni said the first order of business for the contractor's crews is to move parts of the bridge for the NTSB team and anything they need for their investigation.

"The NTSB needs to see some things that may have been covered in concrete or may need some things moved for their investigation to continue. So, the contractors helping them, you know, move some of these large pieces," she said.

On Saturday, they built an access road down the 45-degree embankment next to the bridge so now equipment can reach the debris sitting in the ravine.

Sirianni said they don't know when the full demolition will begin because two things need to happen first.

"Once the NTSB is done with their investigation and turns the site over to the contractor, then they can do a more extensive demolition of the site. At the same time, we were hoping to do some geotechnical investigation and we need to do drilling to see what the subsurface looks like," said Sirianni.

Fern Hollow Bridge Collapse
(Photo Credit: Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)

The demolition timeline depends on how easily things can be moved and so far, she said it's been moving slowly because of the recent bad weather.

In the meantime, PennDOT is asking the public to avoid the area right now because a lot of equipment will be coming and going, and they want to keep everyone safe.

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