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Fort Pitt Tunnel Closure Expected to Cause Major Delays This Weekend

The Fort Pitt Tunnel closure is expected to cause major delays to motorists traveling outbound on the Parkway West (I-376) this weekend, November 14-17.

Beginning at 10 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 14, the outbound (westbound) Fort Pitt tunnel will be closed for the start of the $14.17 million tunnel ceiling removal project. It is schedule to reopen at 6 a.m. Monday morning, Nov. 17.

Engineers discovered a sag in the ceiling of the tunnel last March. PennDot determined repairs were needed as soon as possible to avoid any further damages.

“We felt it was in the best interest to completely remove the ceiling just as we had done in the Squirrel Hill Tunnels,” said Steve Cowan, District 11 Press Officer.  “So in addition to the ceiling removal we will be nailing and resurfacing the road ways in the tunnels, some minor tiling work, electrical updates, and will also have improvements on the waterlines.”

In order to complete the tunnel repairs PennDot announced an extended work schedule consisting of eight full weekend closures continuing into 2015. However, PennDot reassures drivers that the closures will be scheduled to minimize impacts to traffic flow, especially during downtown events.

“We will do everything that we can to limit work during peak hours,” said Cowan. “That is why we will have weekend and overnight closures in addition to single lane closures.”

Cowan advised for motorists traveling to catch a flight or going into work to allot for some extra time this weekend.

“We urge motorists that if you are familiar with the area and have an alternative route to please take that route, because again you will see significant congestion at the Fort Pitt Tunnel,” said Cowan.

During active closure all traffic will be detoured. Signs will be posted to guide motorists.

“The detours are pretty straightforward for the outbound closure; however you have two major road ways the Parkway East and Parkway North converging on the Fort Pitt Bridge along with traffic from downtown Pittsburgh, so congestion is of course expected,” said Cowan.

Outbound traffic will form a single lane existing at the North Route 837/ Route 51 West End (Exit 69C) ramp on the Fort Pitt Bridge. For inbound (eastbound) traffic the tunnel will remain open. However, short-term traffic stoppages may occur.

Motorists can check conditions on major roadways by visiting www.511PA.com, or get updates from PennDot’s email distribution list for updates by emailing stcowan@pa.gov.

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