PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — It was the moment drivers were waiting for.
Just before 6 a.m. Friday morning, before sunrise, and before the height of the morning rush hour, crews reopened the inbound Liberty Tunnel.
Motorists, especially those living in the South Hills, say they are thrilled to have their main artery into town back in business.
The inbound tunnel was closed for just more than two weeks, beginning on Aug. 14.
“It’s just another hectic mess, even when it’s open, it’s like it’s not open,” said Ralph McDonald of Brookline, “pretty congested.”
“Craziness, it was just really hard getting around,” said Andrea Oehm of Beechview. “My grandfather was actually in the hospital down in Oakland not too long ago, so it was a real pain in the butt to get around and to get back and forth to get down there.”
The closure, which not only forced drivers to take alternate routes, caused major backups on roads like Route 51 and especially the Parkway West.
During the morning commute, traffic was often bumper-to-bumper from beyond I-79 all the way to the Fort Pitt Tunnel.
“I try to avoid it as much as possible,” said Christy Wright of Beechview, “so I take the bus into work and the T home, so it doesn’t really affect me too much.”
The Liberty Tunnel was closed to allow crews to replace the concrete arch at the exit of the tunnel.
The work is part of an $18.8 million project that includes a number of repairs to the structure, lighting and safety features of the tunnel.
Although no other full closures are planned at this point, overnight restrictions will continue on Sept. 4.