Liberty Bridge

This Sept. 12, 2013, photo shows evening rush hour traffic moveing along one of Pittsburgh’s parkways under the superstructure of the Liberty Bridge in downtown Pittsburgh, Pa.  (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

PITTSBURGH (AP) _ The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has assessed a contractor more than $3 million in damages because a major Pittsburgh bridge was wholly or partially shut down for 24 days after a construction fire.

PennDOT says a spark from a blowtorch ignited plastic piping and a construction tarp on the Liberty Bridge on Sept. 2.

Contractor Joseph B. Fay Co. says it hopes to negotiate a lower amount of “liquidated damages” that accounts for the “hard work” the company did to limit the bridge closure and put the project back on schedule.

Liquidated damages are the amount of money PennDOT can deduct from what it eventually pays the contractor for the work.

The fire’s heat bent a 30-foot steel support beam that needed to be repaired before the $80 million reconstruction project could continue.

 

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