PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Since the pandemic shutdown in March of 2020, the HOV lanes on the Parkway North have remained closed.
Now that more commuters are returning to work, is it time to reopen them?READ MORE: Parents In Pa. Could Soon Have Power To Decide If A Child Should Repeat Grade Due To Pandemic Learning Loss
It turns out there are no immediate plans to reopen. In the meantime, it’s big savings for PennDOT.
The HOV, or high occupancy vehicle lanes, run from the arena Uptown to the Perrysville Exit along 279-North. The reversible lanes were a great way to move heavy traffic in and out of the city for vehicles with more than one occupant. But today, they sit empty.
Drivers KDKA talked to said they want to see it reopen, especially as people are starting to come back to work.READ MORE: Carnegie Mellon University To Require COVID-19 Vaccines For Students
When the pandemic shut things down, there was no longer a need for the HOV. But with more workers returning to the office, drivers KDKA spoke with say it’s time to reopen.
In a statement, PennDOT says traffic volumes are still 20% lower than pre-pandemic levels, that it continues to monitor traffic and that I-279 can handle the current traffic.” PennDOT also says there hasn’t been a specific date determined on reopening.
PennDOT admits they are considering the costs of reopening. Currently they’re saving $1,100 a day in labor costs by keeping it closed.MORE NEWS: Acting Secretary Of Health And Deputy Don't Testify At Contact Tracing Data Breach Hearing
These HOV lanes are also a great way to get concert and game traffic in and out of the city. Once the Pens playoffs begin and the stadiums open up to more fans, there’s likely going to be even more pressure to reopen the HOV lanes.