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Scary moments in the Fort Pitt Tunnel

Written by Jon Schmitz on .

Now that the thingamajig that posts links to blogs on the homepage of post-gazette.com has been fixed — it’s been broken a lot lately and backed up like a clogged toilet starting on Tuesday — we’ll put up another edition of The Roundabout.

Wednesday’s post never made it to the homepage. It was on the site and still is if you want to look back. One thing you'll find there is details of a free Friday class for those preparing to make their first long-distance bike trip. It's Downtown during lunch hour.
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If you missed it, there was a scary moment or two in the Fort Pitt Tunnel this morning when an outbound truck started spewing smoke, which could be seen billowing from the tunnel. Turned out to be a mechanical problem, no injuries and was cleared after several minutes, but that toppled the dominoes and made getting to Downtown from all directions an ordeal. Crashes on the inbound sides of the Parkway East and Route 28 a bit later didn’t help matters.

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PennDOT announced Monday that the Chateau Street turnaround to Beaver Avenue on the North Side had been closed for construction, but in the coming days, drivers noticed something odd — it wasn’t closed. PennDOT said the contractor didn’t have all the needed signage for the detour, and that the turnaround closed today. Target date for reopening is May 31.

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The outbound Squirrel Hill Tunnel closes at 10 p.m. Friday and reopens by 6 a.m. Monday but to add to the tangle, the on-ramp to the outbound Parkway East at Edgewood-Swissvale also will be closed. The official detour moves through Wilkinsburg to the Forest Hills on-ramp.

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Reminder that the Red Line will have inbound detours this weekend. On Saturday and Sunday, inbound service will operate from South Hills Village to Overbrook Junction, then detour via the Blue Line route to South Hills Junction, where it will resume regular routing. Rail shuttles will operate between Overbrook Junction and Potomac and bus shuttles will serve stops from Potomac to South Hills Junction. Outbound service will operate normally. Inbound work and detours also are tentatively scheduled for April 27-28, May 11-12 and May 18-19.

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Late-night turnpike travelers beware: it will be closed in both directions between New Castle (Exit 10) and Cranberry (Exit 28) from 11:59 p.m. Saturday until 4 a.m. Sunday for removal of an overhead bridge. The 44-mile posted detour uses Interstate 376, Route 422 and I-79. They’ll hand you a card with directions as you exit. Also, a five-mile section will be closed in both directions between Harrisburg East (Exit 247) and Harrisburg West (Exit 242) from 12:01 a.m. to 6 a.m. Sunday. Crews will remove overhead bridge beams.

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roadworkaheadThe two center lanes on both decks of the Fort Pitt Bridge will be closed overnight for crash barrier repairs. On the inbound deck, the closure starts at 10 p.m.; outbound starts at 2 a.m. The work concludes by 5 a.m. Friday.

Traffic will be shifted on the ramp from Parkway Center to the inbound Parkway West from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. while inspections are done. The ramp will stay open.

The ramp connecting the Liberty Bridge to northbound Interstate 579-Crosstown Boulevard will be closed from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday while crews do concrete work to improve drainage at the giant retaining wall.

Short-term lane closures are possible on Route 51 between Wray Large Road and Worthington Drive in Jefferson Hills from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. starting Monday and continuing through May 10 as crews take test borings for a future improvement project.

Periods of alternating one-way traffic will occur on the bridge that carries Culmerville Road over the Canadian Northern railroad tracks in West Deer from 9 a.m to 3 p.m. weekdays through May 22 during repairs that began today. The bridge is between Saxonburg Boulevard and Norris Lane.

Traffic will be stopped for about 15 minutes on Route 22 between the Noblestown-Kelso Road and Route 978 interchanges in North Fayette between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. Saturday during installation of fiber optic cable over the road.

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