PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Changes are now being made to a construction zone on Route 51 to help ease traffic congestion.
The work near the Liberty Interchange started over the weekend, but the backups have been worse than expected.
Today, a finely tuned plan seemed to streamline things on Route 51 this morning.
There was still traffic, but it paled in comparison to Monday when the inbound side of Route 51 was backed up all the way to Route 88.
It created a perfect storm for anyone headed into the city. Gene Hanner saw his normally short commute in from the South Side more than double.
“Five to 15 minutes maximum, but it’s a half hour, 45 minutes. Are they gonna pay for the gas? No. It’d be nice if they give us a gas card while they pay those guys fixing those bridges,” Hanner said.
PennDOT crews have been working around the clock to resurface the West Liberty overpass.
The work starts right where the road crosses over Route 19/West Liberty Avenue and ends at Warrington Avenue.
The construction is taking place on Route 51 in the northbound direction and everything re-configures right at the ramp to the Liberty Tubes. This is already a congested area, but this new traffic configuration actually doubles the amount of people.
One of the big issues Monday morning was the officer controlling the lights near the tubes couldn’t see how backed up things were on Route 51 north.
Today, an officer was in communication with PennDOT to remedy that situation.
“Our inspectors will be able to provide details as to where the backups are on northbound Route 51 to the police officer,” PennDOT spokesman Steve Cowan said. “So they can increase the time to the northbound traffic trying to get through the intersection.”
It appears to have worked. PennDOT says it knows there’s going to be more traffic and recommends if you can go a different way, that’s your best bet until the project wraps up on July 12.