PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — It won’t happen instantly, but the solution to zero cell service in the Squirrel Hill Tunnel begins Monday night.
“Tonight we’re going to start conduit installation in the inbound tunnel. That work starts at 10 p.m. and ends at 5 a.m. and that will be a single lane restriction through the tunnel,” explained Steve Cowan, a PennDOT spokesman.
The cell solution involves antennas outside the mouths of the tunnel connected by a wire to be strung along the tunnel ceiling throughout the conduit. The wire in the inbound tunnel will also cover the outbound tunnel. The contractor has 45 nights of closures to do the work, but that’s not necessarily 45 nights in a row.
As for Liberty and Fort Pitt:
“They will work all three tunnels when they can, the schedule is dictated by what other work is being done in the tunnels,” Cowan said.
This installation is the effort of Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint which will share the service and the costs, leasing the space from PennDOT for $25,000 per tunnel, per year, per carrier.
Work in the Fort Pitt Tunnel, and the Liberty Tunnel will be easier than Squirrel Hill because the conduits already exist. But Verizon stated that Squirrel Hill will go online first, with Liberty and Fort Pitt to follow. Each tunnel coming on line as soon as the work is finished.
The work is expected to occur through mid September.