Liberty Tunnels slated for fresh coat of paint

Traffic restrictions begin Monday

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Paint­ing of the Lib­erty Tun­nels, which was halted in the fall be­cause the paint wasn’t ad­her­ing prop­erly, will re­sume on Mon­day, bring­ing sev­eral over­night and around-the-clock clo­sures this month.

The proj­ect was sched­uled for com­ple­tion last year but was sus­pended in Decem­ber be­cause the bright white paint was not ad­her­ing to the walls in a way that would al­low it to be washed reg­u­larly, ac­cord­ing to Dan Cessna, PennDOT Dis­trict 11 ex­ec­u­tive. About half of the paint on the in­bound side was ap­plied be­fore the ad­he­sion prob­lem was di­ag­nosed. The con­trac­tor needed warmer weather to re­move the paint and re-pre­pare the sur­face.

The out­bound tun­nel will be closed at 8 p.m. Mon­day through Thurs­day, re­open­ing by 6 a.m. Fri­day. Start­ing at 8 p.m. July 11, the out­bound tun­nel will close around-the-clock through 6 a.m. July 28. Over­night clo­sures of the in­bound tun­nel are likely this month, but the sched­ule had not been fi­nal­ized on Tues­day. A long-term in­bound clo­sure also will be sched­uled this sum­mer.

Out­bound traf­fic will be de­toured us­ing McAr­dle Road­way and Mer­ri­mac and Wood­ruff streets in Mount Wash­ing­ton to reach Route 51, or the Fort Pitt Tun­nel or West End By­pass.

The in­bound de­tour uses Route 51 north to the Park­way West in­ter­change, loop­ing around to use the in­bound Fort Pitt Tun­nel, Park­way East, Grant Street and the Bou­le­vard of the Al­lies.

The $18.8 mil­lion fourth phase of a proj­ect that be­gan in 2008 has re­sulted in re­place­ment of the fa­cades on both ends of the 90-year-old, 5,889-foot-long tun­nels. Of­fi­cials said the paint job will last 20 years and give the tun­nels a much brighter and cleaner ap­pear­ance.

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

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