By Jim Lokay

Work on several major arteries through the Pittsburgh area has forced thousands of drivers to endure long delays and significant detours for months, if not years.

With construction season making way for the holiday travel season, some progress is being made that could bring relief to drivers within the next few weeks.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation reports that a long-term closure of Streets Run Road in Baldwin may be lifted within the next week. The $2 million project to replace a deteriorated bridge begin during the summer, sending motorists on a lengthy detour of the South Hills.

Another project aimed at rebuilding the Greensburg Pike Bridge that carries the road over Route 30 in North Versailles is on the verge of wrapping up. The work, which funneled Route 30 traffic into a single lane in both directions, is expected to conclude on November 24, with ancillary construction continuing through December.

Still, those closures pale in comparison to the changes that drivers in the Turtle Creek Valley have faced since the Tri-Boro Expressway closed in early 2009.

Efforts to rehabilitate the elevated roadway were hampered by the discovery of unstable ground and later delays in steel beam delivery. Now, spokesman Jim Struzzi tells KDKA Traffic and Transportation Reporter Jim Lokay that a mid-December reopening is possible.

In the meantime, Allegheny County Public Works expects to lift restrictions on and around the Rankin Bridge beginning next week.

An underpass that allows Route 837 traffic to bypass the traffic signal at its intersection with the bridge could reopen by Thanksgiving. For most of the two-year project, traffic that normally utilized the underpass was forced into a three-way stop, causing major backups for traffic heading towards Kennywood, Sandcastle, and the Waterfront. Single lane restrictions on the bridge will be lifted later, possibly by December 10.

While both agencies are optimistic contractors will complete the work in time, they are warning motorists that inclement weather may cause those projected dates to be pushed back.

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