PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- The closure of the inbound Liberty Tunnel and Liberty Bridge this weekend is only the first step in what will be a summer of commuting challenges for drivers in the South Hills.
The tunnel and bridge were closed down Friday night, and will not reopen to help Penguins fans get to Saturday afternoon's playoff game at CONSOL Energy Center. But that only marks the start of what will be lengthy traffic restrictions for the project.
"We have to get the project under construction, so the closure inbound will continue," says PennDOT District 11 Executive Dan Cessna.
However, there will be at least one lane for fans leaving the game as crews work around the clock getting ready for Monday.
"We will be shifting the lanes around basically to create space to work," Cessna says.
For drivers, the words "create space" are important to understand because as you come out of the tunnel on Monday morning, you'll be driving on two shifted lanes to the left, and it will be a squeeze play.
That's because those lanes will be a full foot narrower than drivers are used to.
The project is essentially an upgrade of the Liberty Bridge that has been planned for years. The deck of the bridge will be replaced one lane at a time over the next few months. It will start with the far right inbound lane being closed first.
The first phase will also close the Oakland exit ramp to the Boulevard of the Allies, which is a popular route for South Hills' drivers.
"I think that's terrible," said one driver. "I have to get to work, and it's going to be backed up. I'll have to leave extra early."
But driver Greg Mains said, "You have to repair the infrastructure."
The official detour involves a lot of lights, traffic and turns.
Here's a look at PennDOT's detour:
- Continue inbound (northbound) on the Liberty Bridge past the closed ramp.
- Continue onto the Crosstown Boulevard toward 6th Avenue/Forbes Avenue exit.
- Exit Crosstown Boulevard to 6th Avenue.
- Follow 6th Avenue to Grant Street.
- Turn right onto Grant Street.
- Turn right onto 7th Avenue.
- Exit 7th Avenue to I-579 South/I-376 East toward Monroeville/Liberty Bridge.
- Keep right and take ramp to I-376 East toward Oakland/Monroeville
- Follow ramp onto Boulevard of the Allies
- End detour
During the project, the configuration of the lanes on the bridge will change, three times every weekday.
In the afternoon, you will have two lanes coming out and one inbound, but make sure you avoid the bridge and tunnel all together at 2 o'clock each afternoon.
"There will be about a 15-minute time period where we have the entire bridge and approaches closed while we make the transition," Cessna said.
Changes to the traffic configuration:
- Two inbound (northbound) lanes and one outbound (southbound) lane will be maintained from 5 a.m. to 2 p.m. each weekday.
- Two outbound (southbound) lanes and one inbound (northbound) lane will be maintained from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. each weekday.
- A single-lane of traffic will be maintained in each direction from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. each weeknight.
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