Pittsburgh, PA - This week the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority started constructing two green infrastructure projects to help manage stormwater within Four Mile Run.
Four Mile Run encompasses Schenley Park and several Pittsburgh neighborhoods including, Greenfield, Hazelwood, Oakland, Squirrel Hill, and the Run. These projects are part of the larger Four Mile Run Stormwater Project. They consist of building two engineered drainage channels in Schenley Park along Overlook Drive and next to the Bridle Trail.
The channels will create a path where water can flow. Right now, stormwater is mostly unmanaged. It flows off the steep hillside from Overlook Drive to the Bridle Trail below and further downhill, where it causes flooding and the combined sewer system to overflow into downstream neighborhoods and properties.
“The Four Mile Run Stormwater Project is a tremendous undertaking for the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority, the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, and the City of Pittsburgh,” stated Robert Weimar, Executive Director. “Capturing stormwater at higher elevations in the park will help to protect residents and neighborhoods downstream from the impacts of too much runoff. We are excited to demonstrate how green solutions can effectively manage stormwater in Pittsburgh.”
On the surface, the channels will resemble shallow ditches with sides sloping towards the center. At the bottom, a rocky bed will help slow down the flow of water, and an underground storage system will hold back excess rainwater.
The channels will provide a pathway where stormwater can lose momentum and will reduce the amount entering the combined sewer system during a storm. They will help to capture rainwater, reduce erosion in the park, and slow down water running from the top of Schenley Park to Naylor Street in Greenfield.
To maintain public safety and to expedite the work, we will close a portion of the Bridle Trail during construction starting at approximately where the trail meets Greenfield Road. In consultation with the City of Pittsburgh Department of Public Works, we considered several options. Closing this area is the most efficient way to ensure the safety of the public, expedite the work, and manage costs.
It is essential that bikers, runners, walkers, hikers, and anyone using the trail pay close attention to posted construction signs and the detour which directs trail users to Overlook Drive. The trail is narrow, varying in width from 11 to 17-feet, and will need to accommodate construction vehicles and other related activities. This does not provide trail users with enough space to safely use the trail while construction is taking place. These precautions were put in place in coordination with City agencies.
Active road work will take place on Overlook Drive near the Schenley Oval Sportsplex. The road will remain open with flaggers on site. Drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians should use caution while traveling through the area.
The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority will do its best to minimize construction impacts and ask that the public follow posted construction and road closure signs to help maintain the safety of park users and construction workers. The work in Schenley Park will continue through early 2020.
About the Four Mile Run Stormwater Project
Four Mile Run is part of the M-29 sewershed. It is the third largest sewershed in Pittsburgh, making up a common area of land where all the sewers flow to the same outfall along the Monongahela River. In this case, those within Four Mile Run flow to the 29th outfall along the Mongahela River. The M-29 sewershed contributes an annual volume of 402 million gallons of combined sewer overflow causing sewage to spill into streets, homes, and the river.
The Four Mile Run Stormwater Project includes a series of projects that will enhance capacity at Panther Hollow Lake, improve drainage along the railroad, and improve the conveyance of stormwater.
Future stormwater solutions will utilize the existing landscape and historic streams that formed Four Mile Run. Components of the project, currently being designed, will capture and route stormwater through a natural channel from Panther Hollow Lake to the Monongahela River. It will help to reduce combined sewer overflows, basement backups, and neighborhood flooding.
The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority is providing an update about the Four Mile Run Stormwater Project at a community meeting on Monday, December 9th. If you are interested in attending to learn more about the project, its schedule, and the green infrastructure solutions being proposed, you are welcome to attend and can RSVP online using Eventbrite. For more information about these projects, please visit www.4mr.org or our Four Mile Run Early Action Projects page.