PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – When it comes to age, 30 is by no means old. That is, unless you’re a road traveled by thousands of drivers every day.
This year, a major construction project is going to cause major issues for drivers in the North Hills.
It may be the junior member of the Parkway family, but the Parkway North is fast approaching the magical 30-year makeover.
“We’re at 28 years, so it’s better to be a little ahead than to be behind,” PennDOT District 11 Executive Dan Cessna said.
So begins a 3-year job to rehab Interstate 279 from the Fort Duquesne Bridge to Camp Horne Road.
“There’s 30 bridges that we’re going to be working on in this section of highway and 29 retaining walls,” Cessna said.
Not to mention, there’s a lot of concrete patching to do, a new riding surface to lay and an anti-icing system for the McKnight Road Interchange.
“We’ll work on inbound work in 2017 and outbound work in 2018,” Cessna said.
And there’s no sugarcoating what’s ahead with spring.
“So, we can expect congestion that we’re not used to in the inbound direction,” Cessna said.
Here’s the plan:
As you head south from Camp Horne Road towards the city, the traffic will split with one lane staying on the southbound shoulder, while the one lane shifts over to the northbound side.
But, that changes when you get to Perrysville.
“All that traffic, the two lanes, will merge into the HOV and travel the HOV into the city,” Cessna said.
At McKnight Road, the traffic entering for the ride to the city will remain in a single designated lane on the main line, which will shift throughout the construction season.
“Venture Street for inbound motorists will be closed for a period of time,” Cessna said.
Once in the East Street Valley, they’ll open up the HOV barrier and all traffic will return to the main line before the North Side decision points.
But, it’s not over.
“We will be doing the work on the bridge decks that parallel PNC Park and the North Shore, so there will be lane restrictions in that area also, but we will maintain two lanes at all times,” Cessna said.
While the work may only be on the inbound side this year, the HOV lane will not be available for outbound traffic in the afternoons, or after sporting events.
“It’s a lot of traffic. We have done that pattern in the past and after a transition period, it works pretty well,” Cessna said.
Preliminary work begins in March and the traffic restrictions start in April.