Pittsburgh receives infrastructure funding to fix flood-prone “bathtub”

The Fort Duquesne bypass is flooded by the overflowing Allegheny river in Pittsburgh, Wednesday, April 3, 2024. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

By Sean Kitchen

April 15, 2024

Pittsburgh received $6.6 million from President Joe Biden’s Infrastructure Law in an ongoing effort to fix a flood-prone section of the East Parkway.

Western Pennsylvania has experienced some record breaking rainfall and flooding as the seasons began to change over the past month.

Last week, Congresswoman Summer Lee (D-Allegheny), along with US Sens. Bob Casey and John Fetterman, announced $6.6 million in federal funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to make improvements and prevent flooding along Pittsburgh’s East Parkway.

“This new $6.6 million funding for the Parkway East Floodwall is a game-changer,” Lee said in a statement last week.

“It directly targets the notorious ‘Bathtub’ area, providing a much-needed solution to a long-standing problem that affects countless residents, commuters, and businesses. This initiative not only secures the safety and efficiency of one of our key transport routes but also stands as a testament to our commitment to enhancing community resilience against climate impacts, creating jobs, and promoting economic growth.”

The bathtub is a 2,500 foot stretch of the Pittsburgh East Parkway, or I-376, that runs along the Monongahela River and is prone to flooding. The freeway serves 40,000 to 70,000 vehicles per day.

According to CDM Smith, an engineering firm, the bathtub has flooded 17 times since a floodwall and pumping system was built in 1985. The flood wall prevents flooding along the parkway until the Monongahela River reaches 25 feet.

This latest round of funding for infrastructure upgrades along Pittsburgh’s East Parkway comes from the US Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Promoting Resilient Operations for Transformative, Efficient and Cost-saving Transportation (PROTECT) Grant program, which was created by the Infrastructure law.

So far, Pittsburgh has received $142.34 million for infrastructure upgrades along the I-376 parkway that alleviates traffic congestion and prevents flooding. That funding will help rehabilitate 10 bridges and install a new floodwall inside the bathtub.

“When the Bathtub floods, Pittsburgh and Allegheny County residents, commuters, and travelers lose a critical artery,” Casey said in a statement.

“The consequences are deep and far-reaching, especially for many in marginalized communities. With severe weather on the rise, we’re delivering more funding to drain the Bathtub and protect Southwestern Pennsylvanians’ livelihoods and safety.”

Author

  • Sean Kitchen

    Sean Kitchen is the Keystone’s political correspondent, based in Harrisburg. Sean is originally from Philadelphia and spent five years working as a writer and researcher for Pennsylvania Spotlight.

CATEGORIES: INFRASTRUCTURE

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