PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The calamity of Friday turned into the nightmare of Tuesday.
With the Liberty Bridge wounded and on the disabled list, the other players in the river crossing team had to pick up the slack. The volume of five bridges was compressed to only four, and the resulting backups were the type that fries even the most patient of people.
“Our detour that was running about 20 minutes over the weekend averaged 40-50 minutes during the peak period today,” said PennDOT District 11 Executive Dan Cessna.
Folks coming out of the Liberty Tunnel put a jam on the South Side. While Parkway West drivers sat in backups from I-79 into downtown. It was one of the hardest hit areas during the morning commute.
“It was pretty bad, about 40 minutes,” one woman said.
Lisa Washington’s Report:
Banksville Road and West Liberty Avenue were also nothing short of trying to say the least.
“It’s more than double, it seems to be double because about this time each day, you wouldn’t see it as far back as you do now and you can see it all the way back,” Greg Wood said.
“It was horrible. I left my house in Scott, about 40 minutes ago, and normally it takes me about 15-20 minutes to get to this point, so doubled up,” Dara Jones said.
PennDOT saw areas for improvement.
“Some minor tweaks to officer locations,” said Cessna. “We will work on that throughout the day, getting feedback from folks who were on those posts.”
The afternoon rush has been no less of a concern with full expectations of downtown issues with departing traffic mixed with inbound Pirates fans, and the Fort Pitt Bridge in the crosshairs.
“That pinch-point, we would expect to back-up considerably worse this afternoon,” Cessna said.
For both the morning and afternoon rush hours, Port Authority has about a dozen additional buses ready to roll and two rail trains added to the light rail system.
“On the two cars trains, each two car train handles about 400 people when it’s filled to capacity,” said Port Authority spokeman Jim Ritchie. “That’s standing and sitting, so that’s 800 on the light rail system each trip.”
The closure and detour prompted some schools in the area to delay the start of their day Tuesday.
But now, the Pittsburgh Public School District has announced that beginning Wednesday and until further notice, seven schools will be starting and ending their day approximately 25 minutes earlier.
Those schools are:
Pittsburgh Allderdice High School (All Students) – 7:11 a.m.
Pittsburgh Brashear High School (All Students) – 7:11 a.m.
Pittsburgh Carrick High School (All Students) – 7:11 a.m.
Pittsburgh SciTech 6-12 (All Students) – 7:11 a.m.
Pittsburgh Westinghouse Academy 6-12 (All Students) – 7:11 a.m.
Pittsburgh Obama 6-12 (Students in Grades 9-12 Only) – 7:11 a.m.
Pittsburgh Milliones 6-12 (Students in Grades 6-8 Only) – 7:11 a.m.
All after-school activities in the district, including high school athletic practices, have been canceled for Tuesday. For any other delays and changes, check the School Delays page here.
Christine D’Antonio’s Report:
As commuters deal with lengthy delays, PennDOT and a host of engineers are working on getting the bridge reopened.
“We believe we’re making good progress,” said Cessna. “We’re hoping to remain on target for Monday the 12th to have everything reopened.”
But he also says, “We’ve been working on the fix since Friday night; it’s now Tuesday, and while we have it very close, it’s still not finalized.”
And getting what’s needed is not exactly a trip to Home Depot.
“The materials you need for this, you hope are in the United States. They certainly are not in the Pittsburgh region,” Cessna said.