PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – In just two weeks, Pittsburgh commuters will have a new option for getting around town.
After years of planning and construction, the new North Shore Connector is almost ready to go as it is 99 percent complete.
Service is expected to start on March 25, but today, Sarah Arbogast was taken underground for a sneak peek.
From the Gateway Station downtown, below Stanwix Street, under the Allegheny River, to the North Shore, the new 1.2-mile T extension is a smooth ride.
It is one the Port Authority is hoping will have a big impact on the everyday commuter.
“Right now, you can park on the North Shore, probably at a cheaper rate and then jump on the T and head downtown. So, we are hoping that provides greater mobility, less congestion downtown,” Rail Operations Engineering Officer Winston Simmonds said.
There are three new stops on the route:
- Gateway Station downtown
- The North Side Station, which drops you off right next to PNC Park
- Allegheny Station, which is located between Heinz Field and the Rivers Casino
The cost is free, at least for the first three years.
You can jump on the first free train March 25. Until then, crews will be busy conducting tests and working on the finishing touches.
“It’s doing the cleanup, final inspections, final sign-offs on our safety certification process, qualifying operators to operate on the extension,” Simmonds said.
The new ride isn’t debuting without controversy.
The Port Authority is currently facing a budget deficit of over $64 million.
Dozens of bus routes and jobs are on the chopping block. In the end, this T extension project will likely come with a price tag of around $517 million.
”Even if the North Shore Connector did not exist, we would still have a $65 million budget deficit,” Simmonds said.