PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - After a week of traffic congestion and driver confusion in Sharpsburg, PennDOT is reopening a ramp to Highland Park Bridge.
There's been a change of plans; the ramp from northbound Freeport Road to Highland Park Bridge in Sharpsburg is re-opening Monday at 9 a.m. It's re-opening to cars, truck traffic must continue to follow the detour.
"It's preventing future accidents," said Mike Daniher, assistant chief of Sharpsburg Volunteer Fire Department.
PennDOT closed the ramp a week ago and said it would be permanent, but the closure created a detour within a detour because of another ramp closure on Route 28.
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"Since last Monday, it's been an absolute nightmare up there and also the detour can take up almost a half hour to go around there, you're only going back 2 1/2 miles," said Daniher.
Daniher said it became dangerous because drivers were trying to bypass the detour by making an illegal left turn on Freeport Road to take the southbound ramp to Highland Park Bridge.
"Which has created a very unsafe situation and we had many near misses up there so we're really happy that they decided to re-open that," said Daniher.
It also caused traffic delays on Freeport Road, which made emergency crews' response times longer.
"The traffic back-ups when we've been responding to calls in Aspinwall in that direction has caused an increase in response time as well," said Daniher.
The ramp will stay open until mid-November then it will close permanently. Highland Park Bridge will be accessible from Freeport Road in both directions at the new intersection.
This is all part of the $47 million, Route 28 Highland Park interchange project. The expected completion is the end of construction season 2023.
"We respond to accidents on Route 28 several times a week and adding that additional lane and increased improvements on the ramps will hopefully make it a much safer highway and we'll respond to a lot fewer accidents on Route 28," Daniher said.
PennDOT said the purpose of the project is to address existing bottlenecks and congested traffic flow on Route 28 and other safety issues within the Route 28/Highland Park Bridge/Freeport Road Interchange.
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