Project Description


Carrie Furnace – Land Development
Allegheny County, PA

Steel baron Andrew Carnegie purchased the Carrie Furnaces in the early 1900’s to produce iron for steel-making at his U.S.Steel Homestead Works. At their peak, the furnaces ran 24/7, producing 2,500 tons of molten iron per day. Laborers worked long hours in 2,600-degree temperatures, never leaving their stations for their entire work shifts in order to watch the furnaces.

The Carrie Furnaces closed in 1984 and were designated as a brownfield site. For two decades, redevelopment plans were discussed and debated. In 2005, the Allegheny County Chief Executive, Dan Onorato initiated a plan to reclaim the county’s brownfields and the Redevelopment Authority of Allegheny County (RAAC) purchased the property with the intent of revitalization. L.R. Kimball was awarded a contract to assist in the redevelopment of this important piece of history.

The property is situated in the boroughs of Munhall, Rankin, Swissvale, and Whitaker, and within Pittsburgh city limits. The access to the site has been one of the most challenging aspects of the project because it is bounded by the river bank, very steep hillsides, active railroad tracks, and an historic area located on-site. L.R. Kimball’s work has included:

  • Development of multiple conceptual site access routes into the site including construction cost estimates for each scenario
  • Preliminary and final design of site development and access
  • Phased infrastructure improvements
  • Performed ALTA and boundary surveys for the 168-acre property
  • Conducted planimetric and topographic mapping
  • Performed wetlands assessment
  • Performed traffic impact studies for key site access points
  • Performed geotechnical investigations
  • Designed flyover ramp and bridge structure to access site
  • Completed CSX Railroad permitting for utility crossings
  • Future Design to convert the Hot Metal Bridge to a vehicular and pedestrian bridge

Additionally, L.R. Kimball has drilled a total of 41 borings to explore and evaluate the subsurface conditions at the site. The borings were drilled to depths ranging from approximately 2.5 to 95 feet below existing grade. The soil samples obtained during the drilling operation were returned to our lab and visually classified by an engineer or geologist from our office. The engineer selected samples for laboratory testing, which included moisture content, grain size analysis, Atterberg Limits, and organic content. Field and laboratory testing were performed in general accordance with applicable standards. We utilized empirical correlations between standard penetration resistance values, shear strength, and compressibility in order to evaluate the soil and bedrock at the site and provide site specific geotechnical recommendations for developing the site.

Our team has enjoyed working on this revitalization project to successfully redevelop this historic landmark

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