After three glorious months of unrestricted outbound travel, Route 28 drivers will again be herded into a single lane, starting tonight if weather permits, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation announced.
The fifth and final phase of a massive reconstruction project that began in 2010 will force traffic into an 11-foot-wide lane from the Chestnut Street overpass to a point about 1,500 feet before the 31st Street Bridge, around the clock through next November.
Two lanes of inbound traffic will be maintained during peak periods, as motorists return to a pattern that has been in place most of the time since August 2010. Outbound traffic got a brief respite starting in September as the fourth phase of the project neared completion.
Also tonight, weather permitting, PennDOT will close the ramp from East Ohio Street to outbound Route 28, forcing traffic to detour via the 16th Street Bridge, Liberty Avenue and the 31st Street Bridge through late summer.
The final phase will complete the separation of inbound and outbound traffic with barriers on a stretch of Route 28 known for deadly collisions.
PennDOT also announced recently that the last phase will have an art component -- a nearly 1,000-foot-long retaining wall below Troy Hill will bear six historical images.
The former church site will have an octagonal seating area with benches made from stone recovered from the old Pennsylvania Canal.
In a statement announcing the final phase Monday, Dan Cessna, PennDOT district executive, said "we are a construction season away from completing this important regional project. When finished, motorists will see significant improvements in safety and mobility through the corridor."
Inbound restrictions may occur during the day today through Thursday as crews shift traffic lanes for the new pattern.
The $15.4 million phase includes reconstructed road and improved drainage, signs, lighting and sidewalks.
Jon Schmitz: email@example.com or 412-263-1868. Visit the PG's transportation blog, The Roundabout, at www.post-gazette.com/Roundabout. Twitter: @pgtraffic. First Published December 16, 2013 2:11 PM