Including Unexpected Work On Parkway EastBy John Shumway

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — PennDOT is responsible for a lot of roads in this state.

Transportation Secretary Leslie Richards says, “In fact, it is equal to New Jersey, New York, and all the New England states combined.

So you can imagine that every corner of the state is clamoring for the same pot of road money to deal with our aging roads and bridges.

So you can imagine the surprise at PennDOT’s District 11 in Allegheny County when they got the call there was some unused money available to repave Pittsburgh’s Parkway East.

“The portion from Bates Street to the Ft. Pitt Tunnel hasn’t been paved since 2006,” says Cheryl Moon-Sirianni, PennDOT’s Executive for District 11.

The repaving it will be starting in late spring will run all the way from Downtown to Edgewood.

“We’re probably looking at doing nighttime work or weekend work. There will probably be some weekend detours regardless, because there are expansion joints that go across the entire width of the road that must be repaired,” said Moon-Sirianni.

And the work won’t stop there. From Edgewood on to Monroeville, the road will get a fresh longitudinal patch of a couple feet wide at the joint where the lanes meet.

Meanwhile the biggest project of the summer in Pittsburgh has been sidetracked a bit by the weather. The work on the Parkway North, with traffic diverted into the HOV lane, will not begin until March 25.

This will be the final summer of work on the Liberty Bridge, expect nighttime lane and weekend closures.

The Elizabeth Bridge rehab kicks into high gear this spring; and yes, there will be lane restrictions.

Kennywood Boulevard is going to get a makeover from the Rankin Bridge past the park.

Moon-Sirianni says, “We’re trying to get a lot of that work done before Kennywood opens so they are not impacted.”

The airport expressway work continues with all eastbound traffic being crossed over to the westbound lanes for the summer.

On Route 28, the work will begin when the weather breaks.

“We’ll be paving Route 28 from Russellton all the way up to Butler County,” says Moon-Sirianni.

The work will involve single-lane restrictions in each direction outside of the rush hours. There will also be six weekend closures in each directions.

In Oakland, the repaving of Forbes Avenue will get underway next Monday. The project runs from the Birmingham Bridge through the Carnegie Mellon University campus, and will be with us through the summer.

There will be significant work on Interstate 70 from Wheeling to Donegal this summer as well. The most immediate impact on traffic will come within the next few days when PennDOT’s District 12 launches a major repair from the north junction with I-79 to Chestnut Street.

District Executive Joe Szczur says, “We are going to be inconveniencing traffic on I-70 because we have to do some of this work during the day for the next several weeks.”

While Bill Kovach, the Assistant District 12 Executive for Construction, says they will avoid the morning rush hour, “we will have to work through the afternoon rush hour; otherwise, we won’t get anything done the day will be to short.”

The repairs are expected to take about three weeks, depending on the weather.

Also in District 12 this summer, other projects include work on the Bentleyville and Donegal Interchanges, work on the I-70 mainline from Bentleyville to Route 519, and creation of an Ohiopyle Multimodal Gateway.

Secretary Richards suggest you acquaint yourself with projects.penndot.gov, and go there to check on projects in your area, or on the roads you use.

“There you can see what projects are going on, where they are, whether they are under design, under construction, when they will be completed,” she says.

And Secretary Richards asked everyone driving through a construction zone this year to please slow down and recognize the risk construction workers are taking.

“We recently had a terrible reminder when we lost a PennDOT employee from Blair County. He was killed while putting out flairs around an accident. Everybody deserves to go home at the end of the day, our workers, and our driving and motoring public,” she said.