PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – PennDOT has launched its biggest project of the construction season.

The focus of the work is the Parkway West, but other roads are also affected. Before the work is over, it will include closing ramps, closing lanes, restrictions in the Fort Pitt Tunnel, and total closures of the Parkway.

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The orange started blooming Monday night. PennDOT is beginning to funnel all Parkway traffic into a single lane in each direction from Parkway Center to Interstate-79.

Just like last year, all the Carnegie ramps will be closed.

“I don’t like it,” said James High of Observatory Hill. “It happened once before where they closed both sides at the same time. It really slows you down.”

PennDOT says closing the interchange is critical to avoiding the numerous merging-related accidents we saw last fall in those narrowed lanes, which also will be returning this week.

“Most all could be traced to distracted driving and we remind motorists as you’re traveling through, we know it’s tight, but it’s not unsafe,” said Dan Cessna with PennDOT. “You’re able to travel through safely if you pay attention.”

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And those narrowed lanes will eventually touch the work zone from the Fort Pitt Tunnel to I-79, as PennDOT replaces the shoulders, the median barrier and the guardrails.

Also starting Monday night, the overnight lane restrictions in the Fort Pitt Tunnel, which will be a fixture for the rest of the year.

KDKA’s Kym Gable went to Carnegie’s business district Monday night, just hours before Carnegie interchange was slated for a complete closure.

Chris Ostapenko, manager of the popular pizza shop Slice on Broadway, said fellow business owners and workers are concerned about the impact on the retail and office areas.

“Honestly, it’s a little annoying,” said Ostapenko. “But it brings us a little business too, cause we get all the workers when they come down here, so we sort of get both ends of it. We try to warn customers in advance when we know something is going to happen.”

Ostapenko says he expects to see fewer regulars, but more construction workers.

“Traffic is going to be horrendous. Not looking forward to it,” said Jeannie Kossler, who lives in Carnegie. “It’s a big inconvenience. It’s going to take us half an hour to get everywhere we need to go. “

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