updated 4/22/2009 4:57:53 PM ET 2009-04-22T20:57:53

Residents of four homes have been urged to seek shelter elsewhere because an overpass above their homes in is in danger of collapsing.

Mayor Luke Ravenstahl issued a declaration of emergency on Wednesday so the 110-year-old Davis Avenue Bridge could be removed as soon as possible.

The bridge closed to vehicles in 2001, but a consultant said it could collapse soon. Woods Run Avenue, under the bridge, should be closed to vehicular and pedestrian traffic, the consultant advised.

The American Red Cross offered residents immediate assistance, and the city will house them in the long term, Ravenstahl said.

“There’s no sense going crazy over this,” said resident Janice Tilley. “We just, we’ll face it as it comes in. Hopefully we’ll have a house when it’s all over, I don’t know.”

Demolition is expected to cost at least $500,000; Ravenstahl doubted state or federal money is available for the work. Replacing the bridge is estimated to cost $6 million to $8 million.

Emergency declaration
Ravenstahl said residents haven’t been in danger because the bridge has been inspected annually. The city issued the emergency declaration after the latest inspection.

City Councilwoman Darlene Harris, who represents the area, said the problem should have been taken care of when the bridge was closed to vehicles.

Ravenstahl said none of the city’s other bridges are in danger of collapse. Pittsburgh has more than 400 bridges.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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