By John Shumway

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The calendar may say February but that isn’t slowing down PennDOT from launching the biggest road improvement project of the summer of 2018.

This is a major reworking of the Northbound side of the Parkway North, and it launches Monday.

KDKA’s John Shumway Reports:

This project is so complicated here are the highpoints and associated dates.

February 19 – HOV lane closes so crews can get them ready to carry the mainline traffic for the detour.

March 11 – During the Penguins game that day, the barriers will be moved and the mainline switchover will begin. As you are driving north on 279 just before McKnight Road, you will be able to exit at McKnight, or join the mainline traffic funneling into the HOV lane. The right lane of the HOV will give you access to all the exits, the left lane will cross over into the southbound side and be an express lane out to Camp Horne Road. That traffic pattern will be in effect until late August. As part of that work, the Perrysville exit and entrance ramps will both be closed until late July or early August. Perrysville exit traffic will still be able to get off by going through the Park ‘n Ride lot.

April 7 – Work on the 279 mainline through the East Street Valley will begin and continue all summer with lane restrictions for concrete patching and paving coming during the overnight hours and on weekends.

Mid April – The ramp from Route 65 to 279 North (the one that goes by Heinz Field) will close for reconstruction until mid-June. There is really no good detour for this work and PennDOT is still considering alternatives. Right now, the primary detour route will be through the Golden Triangle. Alternative routes are encouraged.

Mid April – Work begins to extend the two lanes of the exit ramp from the Veterans Bridge onto 279 North. The two lanes will be extended about a thousand feet, which is expected to reduce the merging crunch at the bottom of the ramp. Also coming will be an extension of the Madison Avenue ramp by about 2,000 feet. (Timing of that work has not been finalized.)

Mid June – About the time the Route 65 ramp reopens, on the North Shore work will begin from the Route 28 exit on North. That section of 279 has to be taken down to it’s base and rebuilt, so it will be reduced to a single lane from PNC Park to where the Veterans Bridge traffic merges in around North Avenue. That single-lane pattern on 279 will alternate between the lanes and last until late August.

This project will also include the installation of anti-icing equipment on the McKnight Road overpasses. Also, the project will include a test of a temporary traffic control on the traffic entering from Bellevue/Westview. The signal will allow one vehicle at a time so the flow is paced.

All the closures and primary work should wrap up by late August, but there will be overnight and weekend work continuing until November.

To help keep motorists informed as work progresses, PennDOT has created an email distribution list for I-279 Parkway North traffic advisories and construction updates. Enroll by sending email addresses to stcowan@pa.gov. Please write “Subscribe – Parkway North” in the subject line.

And then there is the plan for 2019, but perhaps we’ll save that for another day.

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