Liberty Tunnels painting to resume next week

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. the following day. Starting at 8 p.m. on 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.

First Published July 2, 2014 12:00 AM

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