As the first day of spring arrived Monday, so too did the yearly bloom of orange barrels. PennDOT announced 32 projects on local state-owned roads and bridges, which will cost an estimated $220 million. The largest undertaking is the rehabilitation of Interstate 279, known as the Parkway North.
“Currently we’re doing prep work in both directions that require single-lane restrictions during the daylight hours, overnight and on weekends,” said PennDOT Spokesman Steve Cowan.
Cowan said that prep work is expected to continue through March 30.
In early April, major work starts on the southbound lanes.
“What we’re going to be doing is concrete patching and overlays on the roadway,” Cowan said. “We’re preserving 30 bridges and 49 overhead sign structures as well as repairs to 29 walls throughout the corridor.”
The $87.94 million project is the largest in district this year and will extend well into 2019, when work moves to northbound and HOV lanes. For the first phase of the project, Cowan said some traffic changes will occur.
“There’s going to be reconfigurations of the roadway including a crossover from the southbound lane into the northbound lane from Camp Horne Road to Perrysville,” Cowan said.
Those two will be placed in the HOV lanes at Perrysville and then south of McKnight. One of the HOV lanes will flow back into mainline I-279.
Projects Continuing from 2016:
Fort Pitt Tunnel Ceiling Removal: Overnight closures and some lane restrictions will be in place in outbound lanes through early April. Crews will install a fire suppression system. Overall work is expected to wrap up mid-May.
Liberty Bridge: Overnight and weekend closures will occur as crews continue work on a latex overlay and deck replacement. Work on the span will also mean a 132-day closure of the on- and off-ramps to Boulevard of the Allies, plus an 80-day closure of the boulevard between the Liberty Bridge and Grant Street. Other work includes structural steel and concrete repairs, painting, signage improvements and the installation of the new alternating lane overhead control system. Work is expected to continue through mid- to late-August 2018.
Route 65: Since work on southbound Route 65 was finished last year, work on the northbound lanes is underway between the Fort Duquesne and McKees Rocks bridges. That will include concrete patching, asphalt overlay, bridge rehabilitation, ramp work and drainage and guide rail updates. That work is expected to continue into the fall.
New Projects for 2017:
Airport to Business Loop I-376 Reconstruction: The $42.36 million project will include roadway reconstruction, bridge work and ramp repairs. Work this year will focus on the westbound stretch, with weekend-long restrictions in effect while prep work is underway. Once that is done, traffic will resume as normal with periodic closures during off-peak hours. The project will continue into 2018.
Liberty Tunnel Phase 5: PennDOT plans start its next phase of rehabilitation in the tunnel in May. The $20-25 million project will improve the tunnel’s safety features, HVAC and ventilation systems, as well as make structural repairs and help stabilize retaining walls. This year, PennDOT plans to close the tunnel in each direction three times, or six closures total. Though, drivers could see another 168 northbound closures and 120 southbound closures through 2019. PennDOT officials said closures will only occur in one direction at a time. The project is expected to wrap up in April of 2019.
Liberty Tunnel Interchange: Already underway, PennDOT is updating asphalt and concrete along West Liberty Avenue and Route 51 on the south end of the tunnel. Workers plan to update several ramps at the interchanges, which is expected to result in two-week closures. Drivers going north on Route 51 will have to exit at the interchange, hop on West Liberty Avenue and pick up at the next on-ramp. Some weekend and overnight lane closures are also planned. The $4.32 million project is expected to warp up in July of 2017.
Details on Allegheny County projects can be found on the PennDOT website.