By John Shumway

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — When there are thousands of people coming to the city for the regatta or a Pirates home stand or a Steelers game or a Pitt game, PennDOT has a standing policy about road construction on those dates.

“You’re talking about tens of thousands of people coming to the North Shore, so only at a last resort would we consider doing that,” says PennDOT District 11 spokesman Steve Cowan.

But Mother Nature is quickly backing PennDOT into a corner.

“We don’t have a lot of construction weekends left in this construction season,” says Cowan.

PennDOT has a calendar which highlights the regatta, the major concerts, all the Pirates, Steelers, and Pitt games, and there are only three clear weekends between now and October.

The contractor on the Liberty Bridge project needs five full weekend closures to get the weather-sensitive final latex riding surface down on the bridge. The weather has forced the cancelation of work this weekend.

The inbound McKnight Road ramp to the Parkway North is a three weekend job. It is going ahead as planned this weekend. The contractor is literally taking a gamble on the rain in hopes of getting the work done.

So PennDOT is left in a position to determine when they can do the work that impacts the fewest number of people. Next weekend, the Pirates are in town, it’s regatta weekend, and the Steelers have their Family Fun Fest at Heinz Field. It would be logical to rule that weekend out, but with football and baseball games virtually every weekend after that – all bets are off.

“Some hard decisions have to be made,” says Cowan. “We’ll do what we can to minimize those impacts, but again we’re running out of time.”

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