The estimated 60,000 motorists who use Route 28 between Pittsburgh and Millvale on any given day will have some additional challenges starting August 22 as PennDOT begins the next phase of construction on that roadway. PennDOT spokesman Jim Struzzi says the $36.4 million phase is the largest of the overall project. "Essentially we are creating a grade-separated diamond interchange at the intersection," said Struzzi. "When the project is completed in (the fall of) 2014, rather than intersecting directly with the 31st Street Bridge, motorists on Route 28 will travel under 31st Street creating non-stop flow through that area."
South-bound traffic will be limited to a single lane from just south of the 40th Street Bridge to Chestnut Street weeknights from 8:00 PM to 5:00 AM beginning August 22 and continuing until Labor Day. According to Struzzi, from September 6 through the end of the project, traffic will be limited to one lane outbound and 2 lanes inbound from the 40th Street Bridge to the Chestnut Street overpass.
With work starting near the 31st Street Bridge, PennDOT will have 3 phases occurring simultaneously: "the railroad (tracks) relocation project, also the construction of 2 of the new ramps at the 31st Street intersection," said Struzzi. "We have bypass construction at the 40th Street Bridge intersection which is creating 2 lanes that will bypass in the southbound direction, so you'll have non-stop flow of traffic for morning commuters."
The work around the 31st Street Bridge intersection is being done in a very narrow urban corridor. "We did remove all the building along that portion," said Struzzi. "There's a caution in removing too much of the hillside because there is a lot of development and communities up on the hillside. There will be some wall construction, but most of the work is really going to be pushing out the railroad tracks."
Struzzi says the final phase of construction work will be near the old St. Nicholas Church and when the work is completed there will be no stoplights on Route 28 from the North Side to Kittanning.