PennDOT

Rusty Clark / Flickr

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.

Margaret Sun / 90.5 WESA

  Plans are moving forward on the construction of a bus rapid transit system, or BRT, between the city’s two largest employment centers: Downtown and Oakland.

Developers proposed four route options based on analysis and public input. 

Keith Srakocic / AP File Photo

Pennsylvania needs significant infrastructure updates. President-elect Donald Trump has proposed $1 trillion worth of work to improve the country’s airports, bridges, and roads, all funded by private investors.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

 

Pittsburgh leaders hope the city continues to grow as a testing ground for Uber’s self-driving cars and other companies, aiming for the federally-recognized status of "automated vehicle proving ground." 

The U.S Department of Transportation put out a call for states to apply for the designation in November. 

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

 

The federal Occupational Health and Safety Administration wants to fine a contractor $11,224 for a construction fire that wholly or partially shut down a major Pittsburgh bridge for 24 days.

Contractor Joseph B. Fay Co. didn't immediately comment Wednesday. The company has 15 days to appeal.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has already said it wants Fay to forfeit more than $3 million of the $80 million the company is owed for the Liberty Bridge reconstruction project.

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.”

Don Wright / AP

 

 

An appeals court has cleared the way for refiling of a lawsuit against an engineering firm in the deaths of four people killed in flash flooding in Pittsburgh more than five years ago.

A judge earlier dismissed claims against Chester Engineers Inc., which acted as the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority's consulting engineer and construction manager.

Snow Makes For Frowns On Northeast Roads

Dec 12, 2016
Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

 

 

Snow and freezing rain made for messy commutes and closed hundreds of schools Monday as a snowstorm pushed into the Northeast.

The storm left nearly a foot of snow on the ground in some spots in the Great Lakes and upper Midwest before dumping up to about a half-foot across New York and northern New England. Boston, New York City and Philadelphia were spared.

Speeds were reduced on snow-packed roads and there were many school delays and closures from Michigan to Maine.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

With a possibility of the region’s first snowfall this weekend, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation officials said they’re prepared for winter weather.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

 

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has assessed a contractor more than $3 million in damages because a major Pittsburgh bridge was wholly or partially shut down for 24 days after a construction fire.

PennDOT says a spark from a blowtorch ignited plastic piping and a construction tarp on the Liberty Bridge on Sept. 2.

Contractor Joseph B. Fay Co. says it hopes to negotiate a lower amount of "liquidated damages" that accounts for the "hard work" the company did to limit the bridge closure and put the project back on schedule.

PennDOT

 

When a construction fire damaged Pittsburgh's Liberty Bridge last month, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation closed it for 24 days to do repairs.

Harrisburg Shares In Autonomous Vehicle Testing Excitement

Sep 30, 2016
Commonwealth Media Services

Driverless vehicle technology has made its way to the state Capitol, complete with first-time passengers.

In Pennsylvania an autonomous vehicle went on display outside Pittsburgh for the first time since testing began.

Researchers made their way to the city of Harrisburg, with Mayor Eric Papenfuse among the first people take a ride.

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

The Liberty Bridge reopened on Monday to vehicles weighing less than nine tons.

“The bridge is good for cars, ambulances and pick-up trucks,” said PennDOT District Executive Dan Cessna. “It excludes buses, empty tri-axle trucks and heavier trucks than that.”

Joseph B. Fay Co.

Nearly 55,000 commuters must continue to find detours around the closed Liberty Bridge, after PennDOT officials announced they would delay its re-opening indefinitely. The agency said on the recommendation of engineering experts, additional safety measures will be included in the construction project.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

 

The Andy Warhol Bridge is about to undergo its most extensive rehabilitation since the early 1990s.

Sen. Judy Schwank

All kinds of signs can decorate a highway work zone. One local lawmaker wants to make sure at least one enforcing speed is taken more seriously.

Joseph LaQuatra, business manager of the Laborers’ Local No. 1058, which represents Pittsburgh highway workers, said signs for speed cameras make a difference. 

“All you see is break lights,” LaQuatra said, referring to drivers slowing down after spotting speed cameras in the 13 states where they're required. “People actually go the speed limit through the work zone. Up here (in Pennsylvania) … there’s no consequence.”

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

Norfolk Southern blasted loose boulders Wednesday from a Mt. Washington hillside that were threatening to tumble onto its railroad tracks and a busy city road below. 

Colton Point State Park / dcnr.state.pa.us

Bicyclists exploring northern Pennsylvania’s scenery along Route 6, the state’s longest highway segment, can soon expect changes.

This month, PennDOT will collaborate with the departments of Conservation and Natural Resources and of Community and Economic Development to find ways to make the route safer and more accessible for bike riders. 

Google Maps

Around 55,000 commuters who cross the Liberty Bridge on a daily basis may need to choose a different route starting this month.

An $80.08 million renovation project begins at the end of April and finishes sometime in 2018, according to PennDOT District 11 spokesman Steve Cowan.

birmingham.otmapgh.org

The second phase of the Birmingham Bridge Complex Preservation Project started this morning, with work conducted on the southbound side. 

The northbound side underwent construction in the project’s first phase in 2015. The adjustments include repainting, light pole replacements and concrete and deck resurfacing.

Steve Cowan, PennDOT spokesman, said the $28.5 million preservation project will bring the bridge to where it needs to be.

Self-Driving Cars Are Coming, But They’re Not Ready For Pittsburgh Yet

Mar 4, 2016
Anita DuFalla / PublicSource

Ninety percent of car crashes are preventable.

As it stands, about 30,000 people die in car crashes every year in the United States, said Mark Kopko of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation [PennDOT]. “If you could reduce that by 90 percent, that’s huge.”

Autonomous cars have the capacity to do that.

In Allegheny County, that could mean a vast reduction in the roughly 12,000 crashes in 2014 — especially of those attributed to driver error, like drunk or distracted driving and speeding.

Michael Watkins / AP

 

Part of a section of the Pennsylvania Turnpike that was closed over the weekend due to a massive backup of hundreds of vehicles will be closing again for several hours to allow recovery of one of the tractor-trailers involved.

Turnpike officials say an 86-mile stretch of the westbound lanes of the turnpike between the Breezewood and New Stanton interchanges will be closed for about three hours beginning at 9 a.m. Wednesday.

PennDOT Crews Brace For Icy Conditions Next

Jan 25, 2016
Stark / Flickr

After the weekend storm blanked parts of the state with as much as three feet of snow, commonwealth authorities must balance competing priorities: keeping state-owned roads clear while extending help to municipalities still digging out.

“This storm ... it’s historic,” said PennDOT Secretary Leslie Richards on Monday. “A lot of these cities and municipal public works departments are really trying to get on top of it... there are some very small roads, and it’s very hard with cars parked on the side.”

Daniel Oines / Flickr

 

The 90-year old structurally deficient Liberty Bridge will undergo its first major renovation in 30 years starting in April.

“It’s due,” said state Department of Transportation District Executive Dan Cessna.

Keith Srakocic / AP Photo

New Year's Eve traffic in and out of Pittsburgh for the First Night celebration might not so bad.

Parkway East will reopen at 2 p.m. Thursday, earlier than expected following Monday's implosion of the Greenfield Bridge.

Sights And Sounds Of Pittsburgh Holiday Traditions

Dec 18, 2015
Marcus Charleston / 90.5 WESA

On this special edition of Essential Pittsburgh we'll enjoy the sights and sounds of the Steel City's holiday traditions. Included in our jaunt around the city, via a decorated Port Authority bus, are stops at the Benedum for a dress rehearsal of Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre's Nutcracker, tour Clayton Mansion at The Frick and more.

haljackey / Flickr

PennDOT and the state Departments of Aging and Insurance are reminding older drivers to evaluate their driving abilities as part of "Older Driver Safety Awareness Week." 

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, drivers age 85 and older are nearly twice as likely to crash compared to drivers between the ages of 16 and 19.

PennDOT

The Parkway East closure planned for this weekend has been postponed by a week.

The closure will take place from Friday, Dec. 11 at 11 p.m. until 6 a.m. Monday, Dec. 14. 

This delay comes as PennDOT announced the Parkway West will close this weekend. It will be closed from Friday at 9 p.m. until 6 p.m. Saturday -- and from 9 p.m. Saturday until 4 p.m. Sunday for repaving. 

PennDOT has offered the following detours: 

Inbound (eastbound)

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

The North Side will become the home of the city's newest bike lanes. 

The City of Pittsburgh is installing bike lanes on East Street in the North Side, between Suffolk Street and Lareda Street.

In September, the city installed bike lanes along Bigelow Boulevard and Bayard Street in Oakland.

Andrew Duthie / flickr

The jack-o-lanterns have not yet found their way to the compost pile, but the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is already thinking about getting its snow plows on the road. This year, managers and the public will be better able to keep tabs on those trucks.

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