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Get ready for Pittsburgh's Carmageddon

Written by Jon Schmitz on .

OK, get ready for the Pittsburgh version of Carmaggedon.

squirrelhilltunnelThe inbound Squirrel Hill Tunnel will be closed on the weekends of Oct. 12-15 and 19-22. The closures will begin at 9 p.m. Friday and be lifted no later than 5 a.m. Monday. The posted detour will require traffic to merge into one lane to exit the highway at Edgewood-Swissvale (Exit 77). The eastbound tunnel will be open but traffic may be stopped briefly as equipment is moved.

Dan Cessna, District 11 executive for PennDOT, said he is aware that the closure will impact events in Oakland and Downtown Pittsburgh. That would include Pitt’s Oct. 15 homecoming game against Louisville. The Steelers do not play at home on either of the weekends in question.

“While we strive to minimize impacts, we have reached a point in the project where closures are needed these two particular weekends to keep work progressing and complete the removal of the westbound drop ceiling before winter,” said a statement from Mr. Cessna.     

Removing the drop ceiling should reduce the number of times traffic needs to be stopped for over-height vehicles trying to enter the inbound tunnel. On average, traffic needs be stopped about 40 times per month because of over-height vehicles, PennDOT said.

Two posted detours will be in effect, one for daylight hours and the other at night. The sunlight detour uses South Braddock Avenue, Forbes Avenue, Beechwood Boulevard and Forward Avenue to get motorists back to the parkway. The moonlight detour follows South Braddock, Forbes, Murray and Forward avenues.

Here’s Plan B, recommended if the parkway is so backed up you can’t get to Edgewood-Swissvale without being in a jam: Exit 78 at Route 8-Ardmore Boulevard, north on Penn Avenue, left on Braddock Avenue and right at Forbes to reach the posted detour.

Want to avoid it altogether? Consider using the Pennsylvania Turnpike from Monroeville to Harmar (Exit 48) to Route 28 into Pittsburgh, or to Cranberry (Exit 77), from whence Interstate 79 and the Parkway North will deliver you into Downtown. (You know it’s bad when Route 28 is suggested as an alternative!)

redlightcamThe red-light camera debate goes on. Here’s a report on a new study that found that when red-light cameras are turned off, the incidence of motorists running red lights immediately triples, and quadruples within a year. As you may recall, the Pennsylvania Legislature in July authorized red-light cameras in Pittsburgh and four suburban Philadelphia counties. So far, none have been installed here.

Here’s a brief summary of what President Barack Obama and challenger Mitt Romney said about transportation funding and infrastructure during Wednesday’s debate: _____   Now that that’s over with, let’s look at the rest of the road work.

A lane will close on the Parkway East at the Panhandle Bridge, Downtown, on Saturday while the bridge is inspected. An inbound lane closure is scheduled for 6 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.; outbound from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m.

The ramp from Route 366-Bull Creek Road to northbound Route 28 in Tarentum and Fawn will be closed from 9 a.m. Tuesday around the clock through Oct. 22. Go south on Route 28 and turn around at Pittsburgh Mills to get on northbound 28. Also, East Eighth Avenue will be closed at the Route 366 intersection from 9 a.m. Monday through Oct. 22. East 10th and Lock streets will be your bypass.

Interstate 79 will have lane restrictions in both directions between Houston and Southpointe starting at 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday during repaving. Work concludes by 6 a.m. daily.

A final reminder that weekend closures of inbound Route 28 at Millvale have been canceled for the next two weeks.

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