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Changes coming on Route 28

Written by Jon Schmitz on .

Route 28 drivers will see a fairly significant change in the traffic pattern later this month as the construction project evolves. The next change, tentatively scheduled for mid-November, will move northbound traffic over to the "hole," the giant excavation near the 31st Street Bridge. PennDOT's Jim Struzzi confirmed the traffic pattern change but said a firm date has not been set.

mega2Also in the grapevine: Sometime in the next several weeks, the city will move the Megabus.com bus stop from beneath the David L. Lawrence Convention Center to First Avenue in the vicinity of the PNC Firstside Center. You might recall that the city was preparing to move the stop to Gateway Center, then reversed course when the property owners there pitched a fit. The convention center hierarchy has been pushing to get rid of the stop for months. The new stop, we're told, will allow riders to wait beneath an overpass so they won't have to stand in the rain. It has better access to the T (First Avenue Station) and several restaurants are within walking distance.

A couple late add-ons to the previous two posts regarding weekend traffic restrictions: the inbound Squirrel Hill Tunnel will be down to one lane from 10 p.m. today (Friday) to 10 a.m. Saturday. The inbound Parkway East will be closed at Grant Street from 9 p.m. today to 5 a.m. Saturday. Traffic will be required to exit at Grant and use Fort Pitt Boulevard to return to the parkway.

About 45 Port Authority bus routes will be detoured during the Veterans Day parade in Downtown Pittsburgh on Saturday, the agency announced. Also, transit service will operate on regular weekday schedules on Monday, when the holiday is observed. The service center on Smithfield Street, Downtown, will be closed but the customer service phone line will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. The parade steps off at 10:30 a.m. at Liberty Avenue and Grant Street and follows Liberty and Stanwix streets to the Boulevard of the Allies. Bus detour information can be found at www.portauthority.org.

PennDOT's two-year, $7.3 million project to reconstruct and reconfigure West Liberty Avenue in Brookline, Beechview and Dormont has won an Outstanding Highway Engineering Award from the American Society of Highway Engineers Pittsburgh section.

From the PennDOT announcement:

“Our project team deserves considerable credit for overcoming many challenges to deliver these important improvements on this busy corridor,” District Executive Dan Cessna said. “I congratulate everyone involved for their commitment and hard work. This award and recognition are certainly justified.”

Built in the late 1950’s, West Liberty Avenue now carries about 22,000 vehicles on an average day. Prior to the project, the section within Dormont Borough was considered a “high pedestrian crash corridor” and the section within the City of Pittsburgh was listed as one of the top 5% “high crash corridors” for vehicular travel within Pennsylvania. Pavement markings were never installed to appropriately designate the travel lanes within the City of Pittsburgh section. Many complaints and accidents were reported due to the presence of a 25-foot wide lane allowing for “free-flow” traffic movements in each direction. PennDOT design engineers determined that the most feasible way to improve the corridor for vehicles was to delineate the travel lanes and to introduce a two-way central turn lane from the intersection of Wenzell Avenue/Brookline Boulevard to Brookside Avenue. This two-way central turn lane ends at each signalized intersection to provide exclusive left turn movements.

An additional challenge included abandoned trolley tracks below the pavement in the center of West Liberty Avenue. In the mid 1960’s, trolley traffic had stopped and the roadway was overlaid to provide parking for the numerous residences and businesses along the corridor. In time, the layer of bituminous pavement on top of the trolley rails wore thin. PennDOT continued to battle the cost and upkeep in trying to maintain a mile-long stretch of the existing bituminous pavement that had been placed on top of the rails. Ultimately, the project removed the trolley rails and reconstructed the roadway with full depth concrete pavement and bituminous overlay.

With the installation of ADA pedestrian facilities, updates to the timing and phasing at signalized intersections, and the new configuration and delineation of the roadway lanes, travel time through the corridor has been significantly reduced. These cost effective solutions not only improved travel times but more importantly safety and mobility through the corridor for pedestrians and vehicles.

Here's an interesting Bloomberg piece about the national outlook for transportation funding.

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