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Outbound Liberty Tunnel To Close Starting Friday Evening

On a daily basis, 18,500 vehicles travel through the outbound Liberty Tunnel. Effective at 8 p.m. Friday, motorists will need to find a new way to the South Hills.

PennDOT is closing the outbound tunnel around-the-clock through 6 a.m. Monday July 28.

Crews will prepare the tunnel walls so they can be painted and complete work that was halted in December.

“There was a surface preparation issue and the paint was not adhering to the tunnel wall properly,” said PennDOT spokesman Steve Cowan. “So we stopped the project, went on a winter hiatus and picked it back up when the temperatures were warm enough for the paint to actually adhere.”

The official detour for outbound traffic:

From the Liberty Bridge turn right onto McArdle Roadway, continue onto Merrimac Street, turn right onto Woodruff, and then turn onto Route 51 (Saw Mill Run Boulevard)

But Cowan recommends taking an alternate route if possible. 

“Motorists from the east and the north can easily access the Fort Pitt Tunnels to bypass the Liberty Tunnels,” he said.

According to Cowan, there will be around-the-clock closures when similar paint work is done to the inbound Liberty Tunnel “at some point in August.”

“That will wrap up the major portion of the work," Cowan said. "There could still be some smaller construction items, but we won’t have any continual closures of the tunnel after the inbound side is complete.”

Earlier work in this $18.8 million fourth phase of the project on the 90-year-old tunnels included repair of structural concrete, updating and repair of electrical, lighting and safety systems, and refurbishing of the portal buildings.

Kevin Gavin is the host of WESA's news interview program "The Confluence." He is a native Pittsburgher and served as news director for 90.5 WDUQ for 34 years. Since the sale of the radio station by Duquesne University to Pittsburgh EPM, Inc. (now Pittsburgh Community Broadcasting Corp.), he served as Executive Producer of Special News Projects prior to being named as host of "The Confluence" five years ago. kgavin@wesa.fm
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