By Jim Lokay

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A major step forward in the Route 28 reconstruction project means the end of the road for part of a key bridge, at least for now.

PennDOT has decided to move up the long-term closure of the 31st Street Bridge interchange from later this summer to this Sunday. The shutdown will follow a weekend closure of northbound Route 28 and the southbound “express lane” between the 31st and 40th Street Bridges.

The weekend work, which runs from 8 p.m. Friday until 11 a.m. Sunday, will allow crews to continue a waterline replacement that began several weeks ago. When the section of Route 28 reopens, crews will close off the 31st Street Bridge.

PennDOT announced plans to close the bridge earlier this year, but did not anticipate doing so until the end of the construction season. However, spokesman Jim Struzzi says that “driver feedback” led to the move.

The closure will allow crews to reconfigure the bridge’s interchange with Route 28 to allow the construction of a graded interchange. While the work will ultimately eliminate the need for a traffic light, PennDOT plans to turn the current signal off over the weekend through the duration of the three-year project.

The move will mean thousands of drivers, who dealt with a previous long-term closure of the 31st Street Bridge between 2006 and 2007, must use the 16th or 40th Street Bridges to cross the Allegheny River.

The work also means a detour for people who work and live in Washington’s Landing. However, the bridge will remain open between the Strip District and the River Avenue ramp. PennDOT also says it anticipates reopening the bridge from time to time to allow for construction detours and emergency situations.

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