PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Driving Route 28 these days is not for the steering wheel timid.

“Very challenging, a lot of stop and go traffic and it’s hard to get anywhere,” says driver Laurie Baronner, of Bellevue.

And while more challenges lie ahead, PennDOT is optimistic yet hesitant to use the words “ahead of schedule.”

“We are progressing with the project,” said Steve Cowan, PennDOT District 11 spokesman. “Tentatively, we do plan on having both northbound lanes, two northbound lanes, open to traffic on route.”

While Cowan would not be pinned down to when that will happen; sources tell KDKA’s John Shumway that the contractor is pushing to have this phase done and those northbound lanes reopened by mid- to late-December. That’s almost a year ahead of schedule.

But as always with Route 28 construction, PennDOT giveth and PennDOT taketh away. This time, the taketh away comes southbound Friday at 8 p.m.

“We are going to close the left-hand lane and have traffic down to a single lane on the right-hand side of 28,” said Cowan.

That’s so crews can get the paving and markings down for two southbound lanes through the 31st Street canyon.

But Steelers’ fans, don’t panic. PennDOT knows there is a game on Saturday.

“At some point Saturday afternoon we will reopen both lanes to allow Steeler traffic to get to the game,” said Cowan.

Then, shut it back down to a single lane until the Monday morning rush hour when two southbound lanes reopen.

So, if everything goes as planned by Monday morning, the southbound traffic will be flowing under 31st Street while the northbound traffic is above. It’s pretty much going to be that way until around Christmas when PennDOT hopes to reopen that second northbound lane.

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