By David Highfield

PITTSBURGH (KDKA)– One of the biggest and potentially most disruptive road construction projects of the year gets under way Tuesday morning.

Work on Bigelow and Baum Boulevards in North Oakland and Bloomfield will linger into half of next year.

It’s been more than 20 years since construction in that area and it’s showing every bit of the age.

At Tessaro’s in Bloomfield, they’re known for their burgers, and people come from a distance to get them. So, do the owners think road construction will affect them?

“I’m sure it will,” said owner Moira Harrington. “Anytime you close a road that comes to Tessaro’s, it will affect us.”

The first part happens at 2 a.m. Tuesday when the ramp from Bigelow Boulevard outbound will close. That’s the one where you go through the tunnel to the Bloomfield Bridge, and it means you’ll have to take another route to get to the Bloomfield business district.

“Basically from Heron Avenue the whole way to where North Craig Street ties into Baum Boulevard, we’re going to be reconstructing all of Bigelow and Baum Boulevard down to the bridge that goes over the busway,” PennDOT’s Dan Cessna says.

At 6 a.m., single lane restrictions are set to begin along a bridge on Baum Boulevard, which overlooks part of the busway.

Then, beginning next week, expect single lane traffic at various points and various times along both Baum and Bigelow.

“This is a big project,” Cessna said. “It’s over $13 million…complete concrete reconstruction.”

It won’t be completely finished until July 2016.

The good news for the Bloomfield business district is that PennDOT expects to reopen that ramp to the Bloomfield Bridge in 44 days, which means it’ll be open in time for Little Italy Days.

The area sees about 20,000 drivers a day and alternate routes are advised.

UPDATE: PennDOT District 11 spokesman Steve Cowan joined “The KDKA Morning News” to discuss how the project was going on day one.

Work on the bridge over the busway and railroad tracks on Baum Boulevard was scheduled to start at 6 a.m. Tuesday, but didn’t.

“There is going to be structural steel repairs there pretty much throughout the entire year. Right now, the single lane restrictions will be as needed,” Cowan said.

He added that over the next few weeks, there will be a long-term single lane restriction in each direction on the bridge lasting toward the end of the year.

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