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Outbound Fort Pitt Tunnel To Close This Weekend Despite NCAA Tournament Games

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Traffic on the outbound Parkway West could be a problem this weekend.

NCAA Tournament games will be played at CONSOL Energy Center Thursday through Sunday. However, the bigger issue will be work on the Fort Pitt Tunnel.

According to PennDOT, the outbound Fort Pitt Tunnel lanes will close Friday at 10 p.m. and reopen at 6 a.m. Monday. Significant delays are expected.

Crews will continue to work on removing the ceiling in the tunnel.

According to a statement from PennDOT, "The $14.17 million project includes the removal of the tunnel ceiling, relocation of CCTV cameras and temperature monitors, concrete repair work to the tunnel walls and air duct arch, waterline and standpipe improvements, electrical updates, drainage improvements, reroofing of a portion of the North Portal Building, milling and resurfacing of the bituminous roadway, pavement marking, and other miscellaneous construction."

Consol Energy Center will host NCAA basketball tournament fans hoping to see teams like Notre Dame and Villanova this weekend but when they leave, heading to the South Hills, they'd better find an alternate route. The ongoing Ft. Pitt tunnel ceiling work will shut the outbound lanes.

"We tried to find alternatives," said Penndot's Dan Cessna, "but as you look at the sports calendar and events calendar as we get into April with baseball starting, with penguins hockey continuing, rally is weekend was about as good as it comes with only one event and it's breaking in the middle of the day."

But new projects will begin in McCandless for example where bridges that carry McKnight Road traffic over Ingomar Road, Pine Creek and Route 19 will be upgraded, but will reduce traffic to one lane in each direction. That's scheduled to be finished in the summer of 2016.

And in June, a section from Bigelow through Baum Boulevards, state maintained roads within the city, will be upgraded but will also reduce traffic to one lane in each direction. That's a heavily traveled city route -- also scheduled for completion in 2016.

And after months of concern about the need to upgrade the Liberty Bridge, work begins this summer, although the critical impact on commuters won't be felt till next year.

"By 2016 we're going to have the Parkway West west and Fort Pitt tunnel work completed, so we'll coordinate the beginning of the Liberty Bridge work and then that would be a single lane taken out of service at a time to allow peak travel, two lanes into the city and two lanes outbound," says Cessna.

The Liberty Bridge project is expected to be finished in 2017.

Here's the posted detour:

  • From the Fort Pitt Bridge, traffic will take the ramp to North Route 837/Route 51 West End (Exit 69C)
  • Follow Route 837 (West Carson Street) to the West End Circle
  • Turn left onto southbound Route 51 towards the Airport
  • Follow Route 51 to Airport/Carnegie ramp to I-376 Parkway West
  • End detour

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