Where the heck has he been?

Written by Jon Schmitz on .

First off, we’ve got some ‘splaining to do: Having worked here since before the invention of automatic transmission, we’ve piled up enough vacation time to go on a three-week hiatus, which we did. That’s why there has been no traffic in The Roundabout for a while.

Nice to be back, thank you.

Let’s get to some leftover news items and road work updates.

Gov. Tom Corbett was scheduled to ceremonially sign the state’s new public-private transportation partnership law in New Kensington today. (He actually signed it for real on July 5). It allows private companies to partner with the state to finance transportation improvements. Such agreements in other states have led to development of new or expanded toll roads. The private company typically builds the facility in exchange for the long-term right to operate it (and collect the tolls).

While away we viewed a stunning example of a public-private partnership (aka P3), the nearly completed E-ZPass Express Lanes on the Virginia section of the Capital Beltway. A staggering undertaking, it has added two new lanes in both directions on the beltway, which will be priced based on congestion — the more volume, the higher the price, designed to keep traffic moving on the express lanes — with high-speed E-ZPass gantries used to assess the tolls. Car pools will be able to use the express lanes for free.

There’s more information about this remarkable project here.

Back home, Station Square has announced that electric car-charging services are available. Forest City Enterprises, the owner, teamed with Car Charging Group Inc. to place a charging station on the first level of the Station Square garage.

“Car Charging Group will provide EV drivers flexible payment options and the ability to make reservations. Through the network, EV drivers benefit from ChargePoint mobile apps (iPhone , Blackberry and Android), mapping services and driver support services,” the company announcement said.

“As more and more drivers are choosing electric alternatives for their driving needs, it’s important for us to support the requirements of these individuals at our properties,” said Tom Gilkeson, vice president of retail operations for Forest City.

The Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission, a 10-county regional planning agency, is moving from the Regional Enterprise Tower to 2 Chatham Center, effective Monday.

On to the road work, of which there is still plenty.

The inbound Parkway East bathtub section will have single-lane traffic starting at 9 p.m. today through Friday. Work concludes by 5 a.m. daily. A lane will be closed on the ramp from the inbound parkway to Grant Street from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. weekdays and weekends starting today through Oct. 7. An overnight lane closure also will be in effect on the ramp from eastbound Fort Pitt Boulevard to the outbound parkway.

Northbound traffic on Interstate 79 will be down to one lane near the Clever Road overpass in Kennedy from 4 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday for concrete repairs. The work zone is between Crafton/Route 60 (Exit 60) and the Neville Island Bridge (Exit 64).

Intermittent lane closures are possible in both directions on I-79 near the Route 40 bridge in South Strabane starting at 8 p.m. next Monday through Wednesday (Oct. 1-3) for work on the bridge. The lane restrictions lift by 7 a.m. daily.

Alternating one-way traffic will be in effect on Route 65 between Chestnut Street and Hazel Lane in Sewickley starting at 8 p.m. today through Saturday during paving. Expect some serious delays. Next week the work will continue (8 p.m. Monday through Friday) but one lane will stay open in both directions. All restrictions are lifted by 6 a.m. daily.

Inbound Route 28 will close at the Millvale interchange from 8 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday. Last weekend’s closure caused some serious delays. Traffic will be detoured using the off- and on-ramps, with police directing traffic. PennDOT expects to close the road on the following two weekends as well.

The outbound Route 28 off-ramp to Millvale is now scheduled to close at 7 a.m. Monday after a six-day postponement. It will stay closed around the clock through late October. The recommended detour is to stay on Route 28 to Sharpsburg, turn left at Bridge Street and left to the on-ramp to inbound Route 28 to return to Millvale.

The ramp from Bigelow Boulevard to Sixth Avenue in Downtown Pittsburgh reopened on Tuesday and restrictions on the bridge that carries Bigelow Boulevard over Interstate 579- Crosstown Boulevard and the ramp from the Veterans Bridge to Sixth and Seventh avenues have been lifted. The ramp had closed Sept. 10 for repairs.

Placement of concrete box beams for a new bridge over railroad tracks on Curry Hollow Road west of Arbor Lane in Pleasant Hills will cause periodic traffic stoppages of up to 15 minutes from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday.

Funny stuff in aftermath of Seahawks vs. Packers debacle on Monday:


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