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'Nothing but good news:' Route 28 construction to be mostly concluded by early October

Construction on Route 28 to end within the next two months
Construction on Route 28 to end within the next two months 02:53

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - The pain of navigating the construction on Route 28 is rapidly heading to a conclusion. 

In fact, some ramps and lanes are going to be reopening in just a few weeks. 

Those who have Route 28 on their commute are passionate...passionate about their hatred of the construction. 

The good news is that relief is on the way if you're tired of looking at the tail lights and bumpers of your neighbors. 

"I have nothing but good news for everybody," said Jason Zang, PennDOT District 11's Assistant Executive of Construction. "Things are going to start opening up - two ramps from the Highland Park Bridge to Freeport Road, those will be opening in late September." 

As for the ramp from Southbound Route 28 to the Highland Park Bridge, Zand said that will be open in late September or early October. 

The entire project was designed to get 28 up to two lanes each way past the Highland Park Bridge. 

"Northbound 28 will be fully open to two lanes by the end of October," Zang said. 

Southbound, however, still needs work. Specially on the bridge over Delafield and Lexington so the pattern may shift, but it won't be open to two lanes until mid-December. 

"For all intents and purposes, the project will be wrapping up by the end of this year," Zang revealed. 

To recap - the ramps to and from the Highland Park Bridge will all be open by at least early October, Route 28 Northbound will be fully opened to two lanes by the end of October, and Southbound will be fully open by mid-December. 

All that remains, according to Zang, is that a section of Route 28 near the old Heinz Plant might need some resurfacing and within the next couple of years they need to rehabilitate the main span of the Highland Park Bridge as well as the ramps on the south end, but Route 28 in Aspinwall's work will be DONE. 

A conversation with the sound barrier artist 03:05

While so much has been said over the years about the construction, the project is winding down, and rising along the shoulders of the road is something that is both unique and practical. 


For those in Aspinwall, it's a sound buffer, and for artist Brian Peters, it's amazing to see his work come to life. 

Peters's art is rooted in texture and patterns and as you drive through the Route 28 Highland Park widening project, it's hard to miss. 

"It's completely different than what you'd see normally, so it's unique to this site," he said. 

He was the winner of a national competition to create the sound barriers and Peters said the nearby Allegheny River inspired the design. 

"The texture of the pattern was inspired by water and the sets of ripples," he explained. "It's intended to be two sets of ripples that intersect each other." 

To that end, they're getting a coating of blue paint, and that will enhance this idea of the water inspiration. 

It isn't your average canvas. 

"How do I take a single panel and apply it to over 700 of these panels over a two-mile stretch?" That was Peters's question and challenge. 

So he created four different eight-by-eight-foot panels of ripples. 

Once cast into concrete, they've been cut down to fit the almost jigsaw puzzle needs of the wall. 

"The texture of the panels was intended to be something that interacts with the sun so the depth creates really dynamic shadows," he said. "Over the course of the day, these panels are going to change based on when you drive by and what time it is, and how much sun there is." 

These walls are about eight inches thick to hold down the road noise for the neighbors. 

Lastly, he added, don't bother looking for some hidden or secret message, there is none. 

So, not only will Route 28 be opening soon, it will open with some new art! 

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