After nearly one month off due to the Covid-19 virus emergency, construction resumed last week on the last sections of the 13-mile, $900 million Southern Beltway on the Allegheny-Washington, Pennsylvania, county border.
With construction resuming, sites that crews came back to weren’t nearly the same as when they left. Contractors have to follow a new 31-page package of safety procedures that include employees taking their temperatures when they leave from home and arrive at work, additional hand washing stations, sanitizing wipes, and distancing from co-workers.
Last week, crews sanitized machinery and equipment left at sites along the interstate. Reporting to the jobsite is also different. Only one worker can ride in a vehicle at a time, so workers either drive personal vehicles into a jobsite, or walk a long distance after getting out of their vehicle.
The remaining work on this five-year project is the most complicated: building an interchange with I-79. Operations that require workers to get closer may experience decreased productivity. The most challenging operation under the new working conditions is placing steel beams for new bridges. This usually involves a team of iron workers to make sure beams are seated properly.
Crews were meeting Thursday with turnpike officials to see whether this can be done under the six-foot rule and what alternatives might allow workers to get closer during that critical function.