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Inbound Squirrel Hill Tunnel To Close This Weekend

Drivers planning to take the Parkway East (I-376) into the city will have to find an alternate route this weekend.

The inbound Squirrel Hill Tunnel will be closed from 9 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday.

According to PennDOT spokesman Steve Cowan, crews will be paving the road surface of the inbound tunnel and replacing the bridge expansion dam.

“Bridges flex, so there is an expansion dam between the two portions of the bridges,” Cowan said. “It’s minor work compared to the paving of the tunnel. That’s the main work.”

The $49.5 million rehabilitation project began in the spring of 2012.

The renovation includes an update of the electrical, lighting, air control and ventilation systems and structural repairs to the walls, the arched ceiling and tiles and installing a water line.

Cowan said PennDOT wants to give the public advanced warnings about the closures and make an easy transition.

“We provide them with detours, and we’ve upgraded the detour route," Cowan said, "and we also provide police at key intersections to make sure that traffic flows as smoothly as possible.”

However, Cowan said the entire project will conclude in August.

“There is only one more full weekend closure,” Cowan said. “However, single lane overnight closures will continue throughout the length of the project.”

He was unable to say when the last weekend closure will take place.

The official daytime detour PennDOT is suggesting drivers take is:

·      Exit at Edgewood/ Swissvale (Exit 77)

·      Make right onto South Braddock Avenue

·      Turn left onto Forbes Avenue

·      Turn left onto Beechwood Boulevard

·      Turn right onto Forward Avenue

·      Access ramp to westbound I-376

The night-time detour directs drivers to make a left onto Murray Avenue instead of Beechwood Boulevard and then bear right onto Forward Avenue and take the ramp to westbound I-376.

If the Parkway East is congested, the suggested alternative route is:

·      Exit onto northbound Route 8 (Exit 78)

·      Continue north on Penn Avenue

·      Make a left onto Braddock Avenue

·      Make right onto Forbes Avenue

·      Turn left onto Beechwood Boulevard

·      Turn right onto Forward Avenue

·      Access ramp to westbound I-376

Cowan said the last closure caused delays of up to an hour and a half.

“We ask that if you are going to use the detour routes, to please be patient and give yourself plenty of time,” Cowan said.

Jess is from Elizabeth Borough, PA and is a junior at Duquesne University with a double major in journalism and public relations. She was named as a fellow in the WESA newsroom in May 2013.
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