Road work set to entangle traffic throughout Pittsburgh region

The impending long-term closure of the inbound Liberty Tunnel is but one of several potential headaches for drivers this week.

A major resurfacing project will get underway on Interstate 79 in Marshall; the city will repave a stretch of Penn Avenue, Downtown; and a monthlong ramp closure along the Parkway East in Squirrel Hill will continue.

The inbound Liberty Tunnel will close at 8 p.m. Tuesday for painting, with the scheduled reopening at 6 a.m. Aug. 22.

The posted detour takes traffic to the already congested Parkway West, and an inbound tunnel closure last year caused worse-than-usual jams on the parkway. The detour follows northbound Route 51 to the parkway interchange, using the Banksville Road off-ramp to turn back to the inbound parkway and Fort Pitt Tunnels.

Overnight closures of the outbound tunnel might be needed during the same time frame. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation will announce those closures later.

The painting is part of the $18.8 million fourth phase of Liberty Tunnels rehabilitation.

Earlier this summer, the contractor closed the outbound tunnel to apply the bright white paint.

A $7.7 million milling and resurfacing project on I-79 will begin Wednesday night with a complicated menu of scheduled restrictions on the 3.5-mile section between the Wexford interchange and the Butler County line.

Northbound traffic will be restricted to a single lane from 7 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays until 6 a.m. the next day; from 10 p.m. Fridays to 9 a.m. Saturdays; and from 7 p.m. Saturdays until 9 a.m. Sundays. Two of three lanes will be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

Southbound traffic will be restricted to a single lane from 7 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays until 6 a.m. the next day; and from 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays until 9 a.m. the next day. Two lanes will be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturdays and 9 a.m. to noon on Sundays.

At other times, including peak hours, all lanes will be open.

PennDOT will announce nighttime ramp closures that are part of the project later. Project completion is scheduled for late November.

Paving will occur on Penn Avenue between Stanwix and 11th streets this week, to be followed by installation of pavement markings for the new bikes-only lanes during the week of Aug. 25, city transportation planner Patrick Roberts said. Specific information about the work will be posted along the street.

PennDOT last Thursday closed the ramp that gives traffic on Forward Avenue access to the outbound Parkway East via Beechwood Boulevard.

The ramp from Beechwood to the parkway remains open.

The ramp was scheduled to remain closed until Aug. 31 to allow crews to replace pedestals and bearings on the parkway bridge over Forward Avenue. The posted detour is to use the ramp to the inbound parkway, exit at Glenwood/Route 885 (Exit 73A), turn right at Bates Street and left to the ramp to the outbound parkway.

Jon Schmitz: or 412-263-1868. Twitter: @pgtraffic.

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