PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — As you exit the Fort Pitt Tunnel, you are entering one of the biggest construction zones of 2014, as PennDOT plans many changes.
“A complete restoration of the Parkway West from the I-79 interchange, to the Fort Pitt Tunnel,” said Dan Cessna with PennDOT.
But many might ask: didn’t they just do that?
“The Parkway West was last resurfaced in 2004,” Cessna said. “That’s 10 years and 10 years is the average life on a normal interstate.”
The center Jersey Barrier is crumbling, the bridges and decks and shoulders need help and the whole thing resurfaced, which will all be done some restrictions.
“Maintaining two lanes in each direction all during peak driving periods,” Cessna said. “There will be some night restrictions.”
It will also be closed some weekends.
“We will have some weekend closures to accommodate some of the larger work,” he said. “It could be interchange to interchange. Those details are to be worked out.”
That work will get rolling in mid-summer.
There have been careers spent doing nothing but working on Route 28, and lifetimes spent sitting in traffic there as well.
“We’re hopeful by the end of November 2014 the entire project will be completed,” says Cessna.
So there is an end in sight, but we’ve got a bit of work to endure first.
Now that the single lane northbound out of the North Side has returned,” Cessna says, “First, you’re going to see building demolition, then you’ll see utility lines being replaced and these are mostly underground lines, then you’ll see wall construction and earth start to move.”
When the portion next to the hillside is done, traffic will shift that direction so the area next to the railroad tracks can be redone.
Then, sometime next summer the work is going to force the closure of the ramp from the Veterans Bridge to northbound 28.
“That would remain closed until likely around Thanksgiving,” says Cessna.
That, again, is when the project will be finished.
Also, consider January as the beginning of the end for the Squirrel Hill Tunnel project.
“We’re going to be done there for likely 30 years,” Cessna said.
But, there’s still work to do in 2014.
“We are on schedule for completion in mid-July next summer and that will include one inbound and one outbound closure to finish the remaining paving inside the tunnels,” Cessna said.
Mostly cosmetic work remains with the biggest missing link being lighting.
“If you notice the entrances, they seem rather dark right now. They will be lit up very brightly by the time the project is completed,” Cessna said.
Meanwhile, 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.”
Parkway West To Get Major Facelift, Some Closures Planned (12/23/13)
Squirrel Hill Tunnel Project To Wrap Up In 2014 (12/24/13)
2014 Slate Of Road Construction Projects In South Hills Is Extensive (12/26/13)
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