PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Drivers in Oakland and Bloomfield are going to be dealing with a detour on Baum Boulevard for about three months. However, there is some good news for commuters in that area.

Crews have 80 days to complete the work, which started on the Baum Boulevard Bridge at midnight.

The $12.34 million project by PennDOT will replace the bridge deck and resurface Baum Boulevard between the bridge and Morewood Avenue.

Work was supposed to begin on March 14, but a water main break on Forbes Avenue delayed it.

Now, one lane of traffic in both directions along Forbes Avenue near Carnegie Mellon University has reopened between South Craig Street and Morewood Avenue. The full road won’t reopen for a minimum of a week and a half.

Chuck Wichrowski owns Baum Boulevard Automotive, which is just a stone’s throw away from the work on the Bloomfield side.

He said he was well aware about PennDOT’s plans to replace the bridge’s deck and resurface the street as well.

“This section of Baum, it really isn’t too bad, but if you’re going to do a project like this, may as well do it right and get it over with. They told us it’s only going to be a few days disruption because they’re going to mill and resurface it all the way down to Morewood,” Wichrowski said.

The disruption for drivers is daunting.

“I’m going to have to figure out how to go around on Centre, but for me Route 28 is always backed up. So for me, I’m going to have to go over the 31st Street Bridge to what is it, the Bloomfield Bridge? It’s going to take longer as well,” Jeff Howard said.

With first light on Monday came the first problems. Drivers coming to the road closed signs not knowing what to do, and what they’ve been doing has PennDOT concerned.

“We are aware that folks are making an illegal left turn and traveling on a road that’s not open to traffic in a direction they are trying to travel,” says PennDOT District 11 Executive Dan Cessna.

That road would be Enfield Street, which is one way north, but lots of drivers are taking it south to Centre Avenue.

Cessna says it’s a critical safety issue and if it doesn’t stop they may have to put a police officer on that corner.

The detour for the Baum Boulevard Bridge project is as follows:

East of the Baum Boulevard Bridge:

  • Take Baum Boulevard to Liberty Avenue
  • Follow Liberty Avenue to the Bloomfield Bridge
  • Turn left onto the Bloomfield Bridge
  • Turn left onto Bigelow Boulevard
  • Follow Bigelow Boulevard back to Baum Boulevard
  • End detour

West of the Baum Boulevard Bridge:

  • Same detour in opposite direction

“Obviously, this is a major detour,” said Cessna. “You’re putting a lot of additional traffic on that route.”

But a lot of drivers are avoiding the marked detour and creating snail’s pace traffic on Centre Avenue.

“As far as on Centre Avenue, there is nothing additional being done,” said Cessna. “We are going to look at traffic signal timings and we will continue to make adjustments as necessary.”

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