UPDATE: This story was originally published Oct 11th. The second weekend of work began Friday night. The detours are once again in place and the state is warning that delays could grow throughout the day.
ORIGINAL POST:The inbound lanes of the Squirrel Hill Tunnel are closing the next two consecutive weekends in order to complete work that raises the ceiling. PennDOT spokesman, Jim Struzzi, said to expect significant delays during the closures starting at 9 p.m. on Friday through 5 a.m. Sunday on October 12-15th and 19-22nd.
View Squirrel Hill Tunnel Closures & Detours in a larger map
“Over the past two weekends that we’ve closed it we’ve seen delays of up to about two hours, Struzzi said. “That’s the time people enter into the single lane configuration of the parkway and then travel through the detour.”
Struzzi advised drivers using the Parkway East to come into Pittsburgh to allow extra time and be sure to use both lanes to the merge point.
“It’s very important in any highway work zone particularly one where you’re taking an interstate down to a single lane that you use all those lanes up to that merge point and that you allow other motorists to merge courteously,” Struzzi said. “The whole function of those things is when you use both lanes and you let people weave into a single lane it keeps things moving, it makes the delays less.”
Struzzi also suggested taking alternate routes, and stressed the headaches from the closures aren’t in vain.
“We aren’t doing these just to inconvenience the traveling public,” Struzzi said. “We’re doing these because we are rehabilitating the inbound tunnel.”
Along with the work inside the tunnel, PennDOT is also taking the opportunity to do work on the commercial street bridge. Next year, PennDOT will tackle the outbound lanes of the Squirrel Hill Tunnel.
The official daytime detour route PennDOT directs drivers through is:
- Exit at Edgewood Swissvale (Exit 77)
- Turn 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 nighttime detour redirects traffic to make a left onto Murray Avenue after making the left onto Forbes Avenue. The suggested alternate route if the Parkway East is congested is:
- Exit onto northbound Route 8 (Exit 78)
- Continue north on Penn Avenue
- Turn left onto Braddock Avenue
- Turn right onto Forbes Avenue