ERIE, Pa. — Mayor Joe Schember reiterated his stance on the McBride Viaduct after listening to residents speak in support of it on Wednesday.
There was a sea of people wearing orange safety vests during the Erie City Council meeting. They were in support of keeping the viaduct standing.
Council president Sonya Arrington and councilmembers Liz Allen and Kathleen Schaaf had supported holding a public hearing, but it was ultimately voted down earlier this month.
On Feb. 7, Erie City Council approved a resolution 4-3 for the city to sign off on the nearly $1.5 million demolition contract with Swank Construction Company, based in New Kensington, Penn. About $300,000 of that amount would go toward sidewalk construction, crosswalk improvements and signal work at East 12 Street and the Bayfront Connector.
After having multiple discussions with those in favor of demolishing the viaduct and those who support saving it, Erie Mayor Joe Schember maintains that tearing down the deteriorated viaduct is the most feasible option.
He said, “The McBride Viaduct is structurally deficient, unsafe, functionally obsolete and redundant.”
ERIE CPR president Adam Trott said, “He recedes back into his cabal of bad advice and he comes out and says these things that are ridiculous. They’re absolutely ridiculous. So, that’s why we need the public hearing. We need to help him understand what’s really going on here.”
The mayor responded to the claims that his facts are wrong.
“There’s probably misinformation on both sides to be honest, but I believe my decision is based on what are the true facts and the bottom line: what’s best for Erie in the long-term,” he said.
The McBride Viaduct was closed in 2010 after it was deemed unsafe. ERIE CPR has said that deterioration of the bridge’s deck and piers are products of neglect and improper maintenance.
Schember said the planned demolition is a done deal, but Erie CPR plans to take their concerns to Harrisburg next month.