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Lawmaker urges ban on use of hand-held phones while driving

Written by Jon Schmitz on .

State Rep. Joseph Markosek, D-Monroeville, is pressing for passage of legislation to ban the use of handheld devices while driving, citing a recent report by the Governors Highway Safety Association that crash deaths are increasing among teen drivers.

“Too many young people are killed by car accidents each year. Despite the current law prohibiting texting while driving, six Pennsylvania teen drivers were killed in the first six months of 2012,” he said in a release.

“Our current ban on texting while driving is a step in the right direction, but it is inadequate to protect people from drivers, especially teens, distracted by handheld devices. People of all ages should have their hands on the wheel and be focused on the road when they are driving.”

See www.ghsa.org for the full report.


guinnessAbout 45 Port Authority bus routes serving Downtown and the Strip District will see temporary stop changes, and detoured or shortened routes during the St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Saturday. Routes serving the Strip District will be detoured as early as 7:30 a.m., with other detours starting around 9 a.m. Regular stops and routing are expected to be restored around 2:30 p.m. South Side and South Hills bus routes will terminate at Station Square, where riders continuing into Downtown can transfer to the T for free. Second Avenue bus service will terminate at First Avenue Station and Oakland-Hill District-Penn Hills routes will terminate near Steel Plaza Station. All T rides within Downtown are free. The 28X Airport Flyer will not serve Downtown during the parade. Riders may take the T to Station Square to catch the detoured 28X. P1 East Busway-All Stops riders must pick up their route at Penn Station during the parade.

Most of Yellow Cab’s fleet of more than 300 taxis will be on the streets during the celebration. The company is urging revelers to refrain from drinking and driving. Police and PennDOT say patrols and DUI enforcement will be stepped up over the weekend.


roadworkaheadPort Authority and the city of Pittsburgh will resume work on Warrington Avenue in Beltzhoover at 7 a.m. Monday, affecting vehicle traffic, bus routes, parking and sidewalks through Aug. 30. Work will occur on one side of the street at a time and in sections, with detours shifting as the area of impact changes. The work that starts Monday will affect Warrington between Estella and Beltzhoover avenues. Around mid-June, work will shift to the area between Beltzhoover and Arlington avenues.

A $12.9 million project to replace the bridges that carry Route 30 over Electric Avenue in North Braddock will resume Monday as crews focus on the westbound bridge this year. The eastbound bridge was replaced last season. Starting at 7 a.m. Monday, traffic will be restricted to one lane in both directions during work on a crossover. When it is completed, possibly on Wednesday, westbound traffic will cross to the eastbound side, with single-lane traffic in both directions using the new bridge through late October. Footnote: starting March 25, the ramp from eastbound Route 30 to eastbound Electric Avenue will have overnight closures starting at 7 p.m. daily through late April, reopening by 6 a.m. daily.

Traffic on Saxonburg Boulevard at the bridge over Deer Creek just north of the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Indiana Township will be restricted at times from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays starting Monday and continuing through April 5, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation announced.
Relocation of gas lines for an upcoming bridge replacement project will limit traffic to an alternating one-way pattern, controlled by flag crews. When the replacement project starts in late spring, traffic will be detoured, according to PennDOT.

Inspection of bridges and overhead signs will cause periodic lane closures on the outbound Parkway West between the Fort Pitt Tunnels and Parkway Center from 7:30 a.m. to noon Saturday. That work will continue at other locations along the parkway next week, with all closures occurring overnight after 10 p.m. and before 5 a.m.

The inbound Liberty Tunnel will be restricted to single-lane traffic from 10 p.m. Wednesday through 5 a.m. Thursday for maintenance.

Wallace City Road in New Sewickley will be closed starting Monday for replacement of the bridge over the Pennsylvania Turnpike. The five-mile detour uses Routes 989, 68 and 1028. The project is scheduled for completion Oct. 25.

Traffic on Route 422 will be reduced to a single lane in both directions at the Interstate 79 interchange in Muddycreek, Butler County, starting today and continuing through the construction season as work continues on replacement of the I-79 bridges there. I-79 already is restricted to a single lane in both directions. The project will continue through late 2014 with a break next winter.

Work on Elizabeth-Glassport Road/Lincoln Boulevard in Glassport, Lincoln and Elizabeth Township will cause lane closures at times from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. weekdays starting Monday and continuing through mid-June, from Wall Street in Glassport to Lovedale Road in Elizabeth Township.

Inspections will cause lane closures on Route 65 between the West End and McKees Rocks bridges from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Repairs to the bridge that carries Plum Street over Plum Creek in Verona and Oakmont will start Monday. The bridge is east of Allegheny River Boulevard near the intersection with Dark Hollow Road. Alternating one-way traffic will occur at times from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays through the end of March.

Early heads-up: announcing work on the $3.9 million expansion project at Broughton and Baptist roads in Bethel Park will resume April 1, weather permitting. Starting at 7 a.m. that day, and continuing around the clock through mid-October, eastbound Broughton Road will be closed from Paxton to Sansue drives, the same closure as during last year’s work. The detour follows Route 88, Route 51, Brownsville and Curry Hollow roads. Westbound Broughton Road will have one lane open between Paxton and Sansue. Baptist Road will remain open. This project will be completed in the fall.

Overhead sign inspections will cause lane closures at times from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at various places this week. The schedule, per PennDOT:
Monday — Route 51 in both directions in the area of the Liberty Tunnels interchange; southbound Route 51 in Jefferson Hills. Tuesday — Route 51 in both directions in the area of the Liberty Tunnels interchange. Wednesday — Saw Mill Run Boulevard in both directions in the area of the north end of the West End Bridge; inbound Route 65 approaching the Fort Duquesne Bridge. Thursday — inbound Veterans Bridge; outbound Route 65 between the West End Bridge and the Marshall Avenue interchange; Route 65 outbound at I-79 in Glenfield. Friday — outbound Veterans Bridge.

Short-term lane closures are possible on Route 22 at the bridges over Potato Garden Road in North Fayette from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday.

PennDOT has changed the closure point for a bridge project on Prestley Road in Collier to improve access to businesses and churches. Here are the particulars:

Traffic on the bridge being replaced over Chartiers Creek near Thoms Run Road is currently reduced to an alternating one-way pattern controlled by temporary traffic signals. Due to safety concerns with traffic backing through the intersection, Prestley Road has been closed to through traffic from the south (Route 50) since March 11, remaining open from Thoms Run Road only for local access to businesses and churches in the area.
Based on public input, PennDOT has relocated the barrier on Prestley Road to allow access to Journey Assembly of God Church and St. Barbara’s Church from Route 50-Bridgeville. Through traffic, with the exception of school buses, is still not permitted.
At Cavanaugh Landscaping, the entrance from Thoms Run Road will be for large truck deliveries only; the entrance from south/Route 50 will be for customers only, no large trucks.
St. Barbara Church has two parking lot entrances. The northern entrance will have access from Thoms Run Road and the other from south/Route 50. Traveling between the entrances will not be permitted. Journey Assembly of God Church will have access from the south/Route 50 only. Other businesses in the area, including Lane Construction, Sew EZ Shop, Christoff Farm and Wood Waste Recycling will have access from Thoms Run Road only.

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