Transportation
2:21 pm
Fri March 23, 2012

Parkway North Construction Could Mean 15 Minute Traffic Stoppages

Motorists using the Parkway North (Interstate 279) should expect some delays this weekend as PennDOT crews install an overhead truss to hold an advisory message board.

From 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, drivers should plan on single and double lane closures near the Hazlett Street Exit 3 interchange.

PennDOT District 11 spokesman Jim Struzzi said the work won't cause major delays.

"Traffic should be fairly light on a Saturday on the Parkway North," Struzzi said. "I think if you allow yourself a little bit of extra time and be prepared for stoppages you should be OK, but if you don't want to risk it, you can always find an alternate route."

Struzzi said there is a possibility of 15-minute lane closures and he offered some advice in case there's heavy congestion.

"You definitely want to use all lanes up to the merge point, that's typical for any construction zone if traffic is narrowed down from two lanes to one," Struzzi said. "You want to use all available lanes up to the merge point and then allow others the courtesy to merge because that does help the traffic to continue moving."

The PennDOT spokes man says in addition the HOV lanes across the Veterans Bridge (I-579) will be closed from 8 tonight through Sunday afternoon as crews prepare a traffic shift by repainting lines.

Parkway West In The Mix

Additionally, construction on the inbound portion of the Squirrel Hill tunnel which began Monday will continue this weekend as the tunnel is restricted to one lane from 10 p.m. to 10 a.m. Friday and Saturday nights. The 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. closures on weeknights will continue. The $49.5 million rehabilitation project includes a new lighting system, new ventilation system, and resurfacing of the interior of the tunnel.

"The big impact restrictions, the closure of the inbound tunnel on the weekends won't begin until late July," Struzzi said.

According to PennDOT, eight full weekend closures of the westbound lanes on the Parkway East will require detours beginning July 27. No eastbound full closures are scheduled for this year. The last rehabilitation of the tunnel was in 1983.