Volume of North Park Lake Dredging Activities Increased (USA)

Allegheny County officials expect the tri-axle trucks dredging North Park Lake to triple their workload next week.

The first phase of the $16 million dredging of North Park Lake, which consists of removing an anticipated 315,000 cubic yards of sediment, should be complete in about 10 days, Steven Smallhoover, project manager for Allegheny County Department of Public Works, said Friday.

Hauling began Wednesday — roughly 50 truckloads traveling between the lake and two waste sites, a 65-acre lot along Wildwood Road about 2 miles away and a garbage dump in Zelienople almost 20 miles away.

“As of this morning, I have not heard of a single problem,” Smallhoover said. “People are pretty happy that they’re seeing progress now.”

Representatives from the county and Army Corps of Engineers warned park visitors about the increase in traffic by passing out flyers and posting signs along Pearce Mill Road.

“Because Fourth of July is a busy weekend, we’re obviously very concerned about the safety of our park patrons,” Smallhoover said.

Corps and county officials are working to keep the roads free of excess dirt. Before each truck pulls off the lot, it climbs onto a water ramp that shoots water upward and sideways onto the truck in an attempt to wash away any loose sediment.

The Corps tested the sediment and found it contains organic material, such as leaves and geese droppings, but nothing toxic that should cause people concern, said Smallhoover.

Joe Riebling, 49, of Bellevue, who frequently rides his bicycle in North Park, called the work “a temporary inconvenience for a permanent improvement.”

Rodney Hughes of Gibsonia, who was walking in the park yesterday, said the truck traffic hadn’t affected him. “People just need to be aware that these workers need to do their jobs. … I’m glad they’re finally doing this, though.”

The second phase of the project will return 65 acres of open water to the lake and re-establish natural fish and wildlife habitats. It should be completed by May 2011.

Stormwater runoff dumped sediment into the lake for decades, as did bank erosion from portions of Pine Creek and North Fork creek. That shrunk the 75-acre lake to about 60 acres, and cut the water depth by more than half in many areas. Some areas of the lake became wetlands, and those areas will be protected.

By Alaina Raftis

[mappress]

Source: fwix, July 4, 2010;

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