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How you can get a transit smart card

Written by Jon Schmitz on .

Card2If you’re eager to try out the Port Authority’s new ConnectCard system, you can get one by buying a monthly pass for December at the Downtown Service Center or at two Giant Eagle locations: Wharton Square on the South Side and the Market District store in Shadyside. It’ll be the same price as a cardboard pass but you’ll get a plastic card that you tap on the orange rectangle on the farebox. When it’s time to renew for January, you’ll be able to do so at vending machines throughout the rail and bus system. Here's where to find a current list of vending machine locations.

An advantage of the new cards is that if you register yours, Port Authority will replace it if it is lost or stolen. But for now, registering the card must be done by phone 24 hours or more after you buy it. It took me 10 1/2 minutes on the phone to accomplish this, but the authority’s Heather Pharo says online registration will be possible in the future. Pitt students, faculty and staff and a handful of pilot testers have been using the cards for several months.

rulerAs this is written, one of the local TV stations is forecasting 0.7 inches of snow in Pittsburgh tonight. Not a half-inch, not eight-tenths. In Erie over the weekend, the National Weather Service issued an advisory calling for 5 to 11 inches of lake-effect snow over a 36-hour period. Instead, Erie got a dusting. Forecasting snow accumulations is still very much a guessing game.

Quite a bit of road work this week, much of it at night:

The inbound Parkway East will close at Grant Street for continuing construction in the “bathtub” section at 9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday. All traffic will be required to exit, with the posted detour using Fort Pitt Boulevard. Work will conclude by 5 a.m. daily.

Outbound traffic will be restricted to a single lane in the Squirrel Hill Tunnel starting at 11 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. Work will conclude by 6 a.m. daily, except Saturday and Sunday, when the restriction will remain in place until 10 a.m.

Overnight lane closures and a traffic shift are planned this week on inbound Route 28 between the former Millvale Industrial Park and East Ohio Street. Inbound traffic will be down to one lane starting at 8 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. Two-lane traffic will be restored by 5 a.m. each day. On Wednesday, inbound traffic will shift to the left between the former industrial park and the 31st Street Bridge, causing a single-lane pattern from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. that day.

Construction of a new interchange will close the northbound Interstate 79 off-ramp to eastbound I-70 in South Strabane from 8 p.m. Wednesday to 6 a.m. Thursday. The posted detour is to exit at Laboratory and follow Route 40 east and Route 519 north to I-70.

Work on a message sign will cause southbound lane closures on Saw Mill Run Boulevard between the West End Circle and the Parkway West from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday.

Also, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has announced that detours and lane closures at the intersection of Broughton and Baptist roads in Bethel Park will be lifted by Friday. A $3.9 million project to widen the intersection began in March and will resume with more detours and restrictions in April.

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