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Preparing for and getting around weekend closures of the Neville Island Bridge

Preparing for weekend closures of the Neville Island Bridge (Pt. 1)
Preparing for weekend closures of the Neville Island Bridge (Pt. 1) 01:35

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Part of Interstate 79 is about to close for the weekend as part of the ongoing project focused on the Neville Island Bridge.

Last year, the northbound side of the bridge closed over four weekends -- and now it's the southbound side's turn.

The work will get underway on Friday and will be the first of four weekend total closures of the southbound side of the bridge between now and October.

If it seems like they've been working on the Neville Island Bridge forever, PennDOT's Jason Zang says he's been with the organization for almost 25 years, and every couple years, some work has been done to the bridge.

All of that work has kept the bridge in pretty good shape, but the paint on the bridge is original.

After 50 years, it's getting a super coat.

"It's a really high quality paint and it's intended to last us 50 years," Zang said.

PennDOT has already been able to paint the higher portions of the bridge, but now that the lower portions need painted, that can't be done above live traffic.

With a lot of painting to do, PennDOT will need to take advantage of all the time they have during the four weekend closures.

Preparing for weekend closures of the Neville Island Bridge (Pt. 2) 02:29

PennDOT doesn't take the closure of the bridge lightly, as it's an important route for commuters and vacationers alike, with 41,000 drivers using the bridge every day.

"I would recommend if they're heading in generally in a southern direction on I-79, to avoid the bridge and avoid that detour," Zang said.

When trying to get around the closure while headed south on I-79, the following detour route can be taken:

  • Get off I-79 at the Emsworth/Sewickley exit
  • Make a left on Kilbuck Street
  • Once through the stop sign, make a right turn onto Route 65
  • Head north on Route 65
  • Make a left onto the Sewickley Bridge
  • Make a left onto Route 51
  • Get back onto I-79 from Route 51

While there were reports of lengthy delays going through the detour last year, Zang says it's likely a 20-30 minute delay and that locals will be able to avoid it.

Zang says out-of-towners will get caught in the detour because they won't expect the closure, you if you can plan ahead and go another way, do so.

The closure will begin at 9 p.m. on Friday and last until 5 a.m. on Monday. 

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