Full Weekend Closures Expected This Fall as Work BeginsBy John Shumway

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – There are big changes coming to the Fort Pitt Tunnel that could have a major effect on traffic this fall.

As KDKA-TV first reported in April, PennDOT would like to remove the ceiling of the Fort Pitt Tunnel – much like they did with the Squirrel Hill Tunnel.

Harrisburg just approved their request. PennDOT is currently in the design stages and work could begin this fall.

“We have been allocated $21 million to do the work,” PennDOT District 11 Executive Dan Cessna said. “So our plan is to let a contract in September, start work sometime in November.”

Motorists should expect to see full weekend closures as a result of the work.

“Four full weekend closures in each direction,” said Cessna. “We understand the business of the fall season and we have a lot of events to work around.”

Concerns about the roof have been growing. This morning, ongoing prep work closed the tunnel for about five minutes during the morning rush.

A piece of plywood covering a hole in the outbound tunnel roof came loose this morning and was noticed by a tunnel supervisor.

Cessna says they now believe the plywood covers were properly installed, but tunnel wind and vibrations had loosened it to the point it was safest to stop traffic and take it down.

The tunnel was shut down briefly as a precaution so the plywood would not fall on traffic.

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