Tough travels

Construction to restrict traffic on Route 28, Parkway East this weekend

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People in the Allegheny Valley will face multiple challenges if they want to travel to Pittsburgh International Airport or other points west this weekend.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is closing inbound Route 28, restricting southbound traffic on the Portal Bridge at Point State Park in Downtown Pittsburgh and closing the McKees Rocks Bridge this weekend.

Restrictions also will be in effect on the Parkway East today and Saturday.

Inbound Route 28 will close at Millvale at 8 p.m. today for slab and bridge bearing work that cannot be done with traffic on the road. The detour will use the off- and on-ramps at the Millvale interchange. Previous weekend closures there have produced significant delays at times. The work will be completed by 5 a.m. Monday.

PennDOT expects to close Route 28 for the same period next weekend, spokesman Jim Struzzi said.

On the side of the Portal Bridge that carries traffic from the Fort Duquesne Bridge to the Fort Pitt Bridge, lane restrictions will be in place during resurfacing starting at 10 p.m. today and concluding by 5 a.m. Monday.

PennDOT will close the McKees Rocks Bridge from 9 p.m. today until about 4 p.m. Saturday while it puts down lane markers for a reconfiguration of the traffic pattern going east toward Route 65.

Currently, two lanes on the bridge approach the signal at Route 65, with an off-ramp on the right for traffic heading for southbound 65. That traffic gets a yield sign and must merge with vehicles already on the mainline.

PennDOT is changing that because of numerous crashes there, District 11 traffic engineer Todd Kravits said.

The new pattern will create a third eastbound lane on the bridge several hundred feet before the traffic signal for those turning right. Instead of a yield, those drivers will get a traffic light for the turn onto Route 65. Right turns will not be permitted on red, Mr. Kravits said.

The middle lane will continue to go straight onto Brighton Heights Boulevard toward Termon Avenue and the left lane will be reserved for those going north on Route 65.

Traffic signals at the intersection and nearby will be resynchronized next week to improve flow at what is typically a heavily congested intersection during peak periods, he said.

While the changes are driven mainly by safety concerns, PennDOT expects them to also reduce congestion, Mr. Kravits said.

In other road work this weekend, the Parkway East will have lane closures during the following times as it continues work on bridge-pavement transitions:

One lane closed at Edgewood-Swissvale, 10 p.m. today to 10 a.m. Saturday and same hours Saturday night into Sunday morning.

At Wilkinsburg, one lane closed from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. today and Saturday and 10 a.m. to noon Saturday and Sunday; two lanes closed 10 p.m. today to 10 a.m. Saturday and same hours Saturday night into Sunday.

At the Swinburne Bridge between the Squirrel Hill Tunnels and Oakland-Bates Street, one lane closed at 7 p.m. today and Saturday, reopening at noon the following days.

The ramp from the Liberty Bridge to northbound Interstate 579-Crosstown Boulevard will be closed from 8 p.m. today to 5 p.m. Sunday for more repairs to retaining walls.

The right lane will be closed through the inbound Fort Pitt Tunnel and across the Fort Pitt Bridge from 6 a.m. to noon Sunday during inspections.

The Parkway East will be closed inbound at Grant Street for more work in the "bathtub" section from 9 p.m. today to 5 a.m. Saturday.

Single-lane traffic will be imposed in the inbound Squirrel Hill Tunnel from 10 p.m. today to 10 a.m. Saturday.

Single-lane closures are possible on Route 65 between Sewickley and the Beaver County line from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday (and during the same times on the following weekend) for tree removal and trimming.

Grant Street will be closed from Fourth to Forbes avenues in front of the City-County Building from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday while workers bring in the 2012 holiday tree.

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Jon Schmitz: jschmitz@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1868. Visit the PG's transportation blog, The Roundabout, at www.post-gazette.com/Roundabout. Twitter: @pgtraffic.


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