You won't need a traffic helicopter to decide whether the Parkway East is a "go" or "no go" while the inbound Squirrel Hill Tunnel is closed this weekend.
Thanks to technology, everyone with a computer or smartphone will have a virtual chopper at hand, with up-to-the-minute information about traffic flow.
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation will close the inbound tunnel at 9 p.m. today, requiring all traffic to merge into a single lane and exit at Edgewood-Swissvale for the detour that follows South Braddock and Forbes avenues into Squirrel Hill.
Delays of two hours were reported on the detour during the last full tunnel closure. PennDOT is recommending that westbound drivers consider using the Pennsylvania Turnpike from Monroeville to Harmar or Cranberry to avoid the area.
For those who choose to take the parkway, the state's 511pa.com website provides access to traffic camera feeds at hundreds of locations in the Pittsburgh area. From the main page, select "Traffic Conditions/Traffic Map," then click "Southwestern Region" on the drop-down menu. Zoom in a bit and open the map legend at the right of the screen. Click the box for cameras and clickable icons will appear across the map.
Another source of real-time information is PennDOT's District 11 website, www.dot.state.pa.us. Click on the "PennDOT Near You" pane and then the "11" on the map that appears. The district's home page has a link to "Squirrel Hill Tunnel Rehabilitation Project" where you will find the posted detour routes, six camera views from the detour route that refresh every 10 seconds and estimated travel times on the detour.
Free apps for smartphones and tablets from Inrix, which calls itself the nation's leading traffic information provider, show travel speeds on all major roads (green for free-flowing, yellow for slow, red for jammed) and display incident alerts.
If you think you'll be fine just avoiding the Squirrel Hill Tunnel this weekend, guess again. PennDOT will be dropping barriers on other major thruways.
The ramp from Fort Duquesne Boulevard to the outbound upper deck of the Fort Duquesne Bridge will be closed for milling and resurfacing from 10 p.m. today until 5 a.m. Monday. Because the Fancourt Bridge (leading to the Fort Pitt Bridge ramp) already is closed, all traffic on westbound Fort Duquesne Boulevard will turn left onto Stanwix Street. Access to the Fort Duquesne Bridge will be from the Fort Pitt Boulevard on-ramp.
The ramp from the inbound Boulevard of the Allies and Parkway East to northbound Interstate 579-Crosstown Boulevard and the Veterans Bridge will be closed from 8 p.m. today to 6 a.m. Monday. Because the ramp from inbound Allies and the parkway to the Liberty Bridge is already closed, that whole exit will be down. Parkway traffic will stay on the parkway; Allies traffic will get only as far as Duquesne University and UPMC Mercy before being sidetracked.
Maintenance will cut the Fort Pitt Tunnel to a single lane in both directions from 10 p.m. today to 5:30 a.m. Saturday.
The ramp from inbound Route 65 to California Avenue on the North Side will close after this morning's rush hour and stay closed around the clock through late this month to allow crews to paint the bridges above it. Traffic will be detoured on Beaver Avenue to the turnaround to California Avenue.
Banksville Road repaving will restrict traffic to a single lane in both directions from 8 p.m. today to 6 a.m. Monday.
East Ninth Avenue at the intersection with westbound Route 366 (Bull Creek Road) in Tarentum will be closed from about 5 p.m. today through 6 a.m. Monday as crews reconstruct Route 366 in the intersection area. Traffic will use East 10th Avenue to Lock Street to bypass the closure.neigh_city - region - Transportation
Jon Schmitz: email@example.com or 412-263-1868.