PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — What asphalt the big trucks and traffic have not chewed up already on the southernmost portion of Route 51 in Allegheny County – milling machines will remove with the breezes of spring.

“Basically, from the Elizabeth Bridge up to the Coal Valley intersection, we’re going to be milling and resurfacing that entire section,” Dan Cessna, of PennDOT, said.

That’s a lot of lane miles to rehab, and while they’ll focus on overnight work as much as possible, Cessna says there could also be some daylight work.

“Depending on the time of day there will certainly be some peak hour restrictions, but the traffic is a bit less at that end and we will work to minimize inconveniences,” he added.

A bit further north on 51, PennDOT is anxious to finish the jug handle behind the Rite Aid at Route 88, and move northbound traffic to the handle.

“That’s going to take some people out of the intersection, so we think inbound traffic may have freer flowing traffic for a little while,” said Cessna.

It’s important to note the new traffic pattern won’t mean less road.

“We’re going to maintain two lanes of traffic inbound and two lanes outbound during all peak periods,” Cessna said. “There will be a lot of overnight work.”

While many projects make traversing them more difficult, Cessna says “we don’t think it’s going to be any more painful than their current commute.”

And then there’s the Liberty Tunnel project.

“Liberty Tunnel we wish was done,” Cessna says.

But the fact is they’ve had some issues with the coating they tried on the inside of the tunnel, so that’s being corrected.

“What remains is the surfacing of the interior walls,” Cessna said.

Cessna is confident those overnight closures are not far from over.

“That work will be completed next spring into early summer,” he said.

It’s a summer and construction season that’s shaping up to be very busy in no small part due to the new transportation funding bill.

“We have some big investments to make around the region,” Cessna added.

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