PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – This morning, commuters got their first taste of what the Parkway North will be like without the HOV lanes.

The two-and-a-half year overhaul of the Parkway North is underway and it’s something that’s never been done before there.

“This is the time to do the work now. We’re getting to 30 years once this project is complete,” PennDOT’s Steve Cowan said.

The HOV lanes will be closed through Sunday. Today, motorists had to deal an estimated extra 5,000 vehicles heading south.

“It was congested, but that’s typical for the Parkway North. It went as smooth as we were hoping it would,” Cowan said.

Today’s delays will likely pale in comparison to next week when traffic shifts into different lanes, including the HOV lanes.

That change may happen as early as Saturday night, but will definitely be in place by Monday morning.

Expect lane shifting and delays between Camp Horne Road and the Fort Duquesne Bridge.

“Motorists are gonna need to be prepared because they’re gonna see a lot of different traffic configurations when we implement this. Additionally, it’s gonna take a lot more time to get through there, at least initially,” Cowan said.

The new road configuration will remain in place until the end of August or early September when PennDOT reopens the HOV lanes.

They’ll start work on the outbound side next year with a final completion date of 2019.

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