After engineers found deteriorated structural beams in the parking lot beneath the Westmoreland County Courthouse in January, the need for urgent repairs became apparent.
Commissioners have approved what is expected to be a six-month emergency project that could cost $7 million to repair the parking structure, which would not be in imminent danger of collapse.
During the project, the courthouse will open a previously closed entrance on Main Street to the rotunda section of the building. In addition, two other doors on either side of Pennsylvania Avenue will remain open to employees and visitors.
Carl Walker Construction Inc. was hired to carry out the repairs. The company would have to dig about 35 feet to access the parking structure through Courtyard Square, where new support beams will be installed and other repairs will be made to restore the two-level garage, officials said.
Damage was initially identified in 2019 when sections of concrete above the upper parking level fell to the ground. Repairs cost $70,000, and structural monitoring of the garage continued. Monitoring has revealed that rust, spalling and other signs of deterioration have since appeared, but no urgency for collapse.
Work was to start on Wednesday.
Courtyard Square is often used as a gathering place for protests and demonstrations, in addition to recreation. As part of the project, the courtyard will be reconfigured, but final designs have not been confirmed.
The garage will remain closed during construction. On Tuesday, the commissioners also agreed to lease 182 parking spaces in Greensburg for displaced employees and officials. It will cost $10,500 a month to lease 148 parking spaces in four Greensburg-owned lots and another 34 spaces in a private lot on Otterman Street.
Parking options for jurors and other visitors have yet to be announced.
The county will use part of the $105 million it received in coronavirus relief funds to pay for garage repairs.