Liberty Tunnel

PennDOT

Some major Pittsburgh-area roadway projects are slated to either start or continue in the New Year, including work on the Liberty Bridge. Phase one of construction on the span started in 2015 and despite a structure fire that threatened to delay progress, it was competed in 2016.

“In 2017, work on the Liberty Bridge, what’s most important will be to complete the bridge deck overlay,” said Dan Cessna, PennDOT District Executive. “Folks have asked why they don’t have a smooth ride over the bridge and it is, in fact, because the final layer of concrete has not been placed yet.”

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

It’s hard to miss the four brick stacks of the Liberty Tunnel Fan House towering over the houses on Secane Avenue in Mount Washington.

“There are two exhaust shafts,” said Bill Lester, Assistant Director of Construction for PennDOT’s District 11, pointing them out. “And there are two intake shafts where we draw fresh air in from up here. We push it down into the tunnel and then we turn around and we drag the bad air back out.”

File photo / Ryan Loew / 90.5 WESA

Ten days after the outbound Liberty Tunnel opened after a 16-day round-the-clock closure, PennDOT will close the inbound tunnel 24/7 for 17 days starting Tuesday at 8 pm.

PennDOT spokesman Steve Cowan said that like the recent work done on the outbound tunnel, the inbound tunnel will be painted.

"This allows a surface that allows crews to clean the inside of the tunnel,” he said.

Ryan Loew / 90.5 WESA

For drivers heading in and out of the South Hills in recent weeks, the daily commute has been trying at times.

Construction on the 5,888-foot-long Liberty Tunnel has prompted 24-hour closures of first the outbound side, then the inbound.

That's meant detours.

And while commuters making their way around the tunnel closures have likely seen workers on the north and south ends of the tunnel restoring concrete facades, much of the work inside the tubes has gone unseen.

The inbound Liberty Tunnel will close around-the-clock Wednesday at 10 p.m. until 6 a.m. Aug. 30.