PennDOT Considering Major Changes At Fort Pitt Tunnels

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — It’s the busiest stretch of road in the region, and in just a few months, it could be shut down.

Significant repairs are needed inside the Fort Pitt Tunnel, and unfortunately, that means some total tunnel shutdowns while the work is done.

Look at the right side of the tunnel ceiling as you emerge on the city side and you’ll see the hole from where the problem was discovered.

“It is the connections that hold the ceiling up and attach to the tunnel roof that are a concern to us,” said PennDOT’s Dan Cessna. “We monitor the tunnel on a routine basis. We have employees in the tunnel 24/7, and they look for signs of concern every day.”

In its plan for this summer, PennDOT has included repairing the ceiling supports. But now, that may never happen.

“What we thought we would do was make some modifications for the next 10 years, but now we’re backing up and reassessing whether it makes sense to accelerate the removal of the ceiling similar to what we did at Squirrel Hill,” Cessna said.

The Squirrel Hill Tunnel’s false roof, once thought necessary for ventilation, was removed. Eventually, PennDOT wants to do the same in the Fort Pitt Tunnel.

Originally, that wasn’t going to be for years, until the support problem was discovered.

“We don’t want to invest in a repair to the ceiling if we know it’s imminent that we’re going to remove it,” said Cessna.

So there’s a buzz of meeting going on at PennDOT to engineer the solution and find the money to pay for it.

“It’s something that could happen as early as this fall,” Cessna added.

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