|Contacts: ||Megan Dardanell (County)|
|Tom Fox (Turnpike)|
PITTSBURGH —Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato and Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) Chief Executive Officer Joe Brimmeier today celebrated the dedication of a recently constructed wetland and stream mitigation site in North Park. “The Wahdo:gwas Wetland,” pronounced Wado gaa wass and meaning “Rising from the Water” in Seneca, covers 1.8 acres of parkland and required 9,000 cubic yards of excavation. More than 4,000 trees, shrubs and willow cuttings have been planted, four bat houses installed and 2,450 linear feet of stream bank stabilized.
“As we continue our North Park Lake Restoration Project, we are thrilled to celebrate the completion of the Wahdo:gwas Wetland,” said Onorato. “We have been working to restore the beauty and ecology of the park, and we are still planning an educational boardwalk, which will be built by volunteers and provide visitors an opportunity to learn about the plants and animals that make up the wetland ecosystem. We are grateful to the PTC for the planning, construction and financing of the new wetland that will be enjoyed by generations of County residents.”
The wetland was constructed just three miles south of an ongoing PTC total reconstruction and six-lane widening project in Pine, Richland, Marshall and Hampton townships, Allegheny County, between mileposts 31 and 38. As part of the improvement project, the PTC was required to replace natural wetlands impacted by construction.
The Turnpike chief executive calls the arrangement between the County and the turnpike a good example of a “public-public partnership” where governments work together for the benefit of the entire community.
“I have lived near this park all my life and have personally experienced all it has to offer,” said Brimmeier, who earlier in his career served in the position of parks director for Allegheny County. “It is gratifying that a byproduct of a Turnpike improvement project is this wetland and nature sanctuary that will add to the serenity of North Park and provide another incentive to attract visitors. This proves that, when different government agencies work in a cooperative spirit, everyone wins.”
The wetlands site was selected in consultation with the Allegheny County Parks Department, Pine Creek Watershed Coalition, Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). The Maguire Group Inc., of Pittsburgh, PTC’s consultant, developed wetland and stream-mitigation plans that were approved by DEP and the USACE.
After securing permits from the Allegheny County Conservation District, work began at the wetland site last October. In addition to the $700,000 cost of construction, the PTC also provided $110,000 for materials to construct the boardwalk that will run through the site.
The general contractor was Lindy Paving Inc., of New Castle, Pa., and the wetland subcontractor was Meadville Land Service Inc., of Meadville, Pa.
The Pennsylvania Turnpike’s $113 million, six-lane widening project — located between Warrendale Toll Plaza and the Butler Valley Interchange (Exit #39) — began in June 2009 and is scheduled to be completed by late fall 2012.