Reporting John Shumway
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Pick a compass point and there’s a good chance you’ll see orange on your way to root on the black and gold.
Route 65, Route 28, Route 51, and of course, the Liberty Tunnel all come into play.
On your way to the game, even more of Route 65 is going to be restricted.
“From Avalon to McKees Rocks Bridge, it’s going to be a single lane in each direction,” Steve Cowan with PennDOT said, as they continue that repaving job.
And inbound to the game will also be snarled by the work on Route 28, where there will only be one southbound lane except for a window Saturday evening where two lanes will be available.
“That will give fans the opportunity to get down to the game,” Cowan said.
The only problem is the opening of the second lane won’t come until 5 p.m. Saturday – an hour and a half after the parking lots open for tailgating at Heinz Field.
Why not pause the paving work for that extra hour or so?
“An hour can make all the difference in the world,” Cowan said. “We cannot impact the motorists come Monday morning.”
So, you might want to skip Route 28 if you can.
After the game, the Liberty Tunnel still won’t be open, so expect even more traffic on the West End and Fort Pitt bridges.
And of course, the usual escape route to the West on route 51 is also out of action.
“Motorists heading northbound will not be able to access West Carson Street, Route 51 beyond the West End Circle,” Cowan said.
PennDOT says it’s pushing ahead with the work to try to avoid weekends ahead that are packed with Pirates series, Pitt and Steelers football games.
“We have very little time to actually get these projects done when it comes to weekend work,” Cowan said.
If there’s one glimmer of hope in all this, it’s that this is a pre-season game and typically fans don’t stay to the end, they trickle out during the second half.
If that happens Saturday night, it might help alleviate some of the post-game congestion.
Meanwhile, at the gates into Heinz Field, they have already changed the sign to tell you what you can bring in and what you can’t.
Now, no one wants to put a damper on your black and gold spirit, but the fact is the Steelers “are encouraging fans not to bring any bags at all.”
Don’t panic though, the word was “encouraging.” The reality, some people need to bring some things to the game, and the NFL knows it.
From now on though, it must be carried in a clear plastic bag not to exceed 12 x 12 x 6. The Steelers sell one with a logo and give out an unmarked version.
“Or you can throw it inside a container or a freezer bag like a Ziploc bag, that works just as well,” said Missi Henderson, of Steelers.com
A hand-sized wristlet is still allowed for small or intimate items.
“Small tablets or iPhones you can still bring them in, but they have to go inside an approved clear bag or wristlet,” said Henderson. “Or you can simply put them in our pockets or on you.”
But backpacks, coolers, computer bags, diapers bags and purses are out. The contents must come through the gate in clear plastic.
When the fans arrive on the North Shore for the game, the Steelers plan to saturate the area with ambassadors handing out the free bags to anyone who might need one.