Commuters should brace for construction delays on three major tunnels

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The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation will do construction and maintenance in three major tunnels starting Sunday night, but that is only the start of what will be a tumultuous period of closings and restrictions for drivers.

Full closures will occur at the Squirrel Hill and Liberty tunnels next month as major construction projects advance toward completion.

On Sunday, the outbound Squirrel Hill Tunnel will be restricted to single-lane traffic starting at 8 p.m., an earlier-than-usual time, PennDOT spokesman Steve Cowan said. The contractor on the $49.5 million rehabilitation project will continue to place tile, repair walls and install lighting. The restrictions may continue until 6:30 a.m. Monday, but Mr. Cowan said the work likely will end sooner.

Lane closures will continue on the outbound side starting at 9:30 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays through 6:30 a.m. the following day; and 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, with restrictions lifted by 10 a.m. the following day. Inbound single-lane traffic is in effect at 9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, with restrictions lifted by 6 a.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. on weekends.

The next — and final — full weekend closure of the outbound tunnel will begin at 9 p.m. July 11, Mr. Cowan said. The tunnel will reopen by 5 a.m. July 14.

Cleaning and maintenance at the Liberty Tunnels will restrict traffic to a single lane in both directions starting at 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday. The restrictions will end by 5 a.m. daily.

Starting early next month, drivers will face a series of full Liberty Tunnel closures as work resumes to paint the walls. The project was scheduled for completion last year but after about half of the inbound tunnel was done, PennDOT discovered that the paint wasn’‍t adhering properly.

Overnight and around-the-clock closures will be needed in both tunnels, starting with the outbound side, Mr. Cowan said. The schedule is expected to be finalized next week.

At the Fort Pitt Tunnels, maintenance and cleaning will close a lane in both directions at 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, with restrictions lifted by 5 a.m. daily.

Jon Schmitz:

First Published June 27, 2014 12:00 AM

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