This entry is part of an ongoing project tracking stimulus funds coming into the Northside.

The Northside will receive $507,500 out of nearly $4.5 million in Recovery Act funds marked for infrastructure improvements in eligible neighborhoods in Pittsburgh.

That money will be stretched over three projects, the Swindell Bridge between Perrysville and Northview Heights, the River Road Bridge off of Washington’s Landing and a retaining wall on Solar Street near Spring Hill, said Pat Hassett, the administrative lead on the stimulus projects.

The money comes from the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grant program, which allocates money to local governments to help fund things such as affordable housing and infrastructure development.

Megan Dardanell, spokesperson for the Allegheny County Manager’s Office, said that the city receives CDBG money every year, but that this year the Recovery act allowed HUD to hand out more money.

Hassett said that in order to get the projects underway as quickly as possible, they were not putting them up for bid and that they had a contractor available already.

In this case, Hassett said he issued proposal requests to the contractor, who then designed and submitted a plan for the project, including cost estimates. After that, Hassett either approved the cost or negotiated with the contractor for a more realistic cost.

Public Works is waiting for the government to release funds to start work on one support column that needs work on the River Avenue Bridge and the Solar Street wall.

Hassett said Public Works was reviewing design proposals for the Swindell Bridge, which needs major structural repairs. In the meantime, they will put barriers on the bridge to keep traffic in the center lanes.

In addition to those three projects, Hassett said that because PennDOT received stimulus funding, it freed up some money that PennDOT could distribute to communities for infrastructure improvements.

PennDOT’s “back fill funds,” as they are called, will allow for the renovation of two Northside railroad underpasses, the Sandusky Street and Anderson Street underpasses near Allegheny Center.

Hasset said they would be cleaned up, that better lighting would be installed, and that pedestrian crosswalks would be improved. PennDOT will reimburse the city once the projects are under contract.

“They were looking for projects that were fully designed and ready to go,” Hassett said.