Parkway West work expected to tie up traffic

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After enduring 17 days of heavier traffic that the inbound Liberty Tunnel closure caused, Parkway West drivers will see construction on their route starting tonight.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation will begin a $72.8 million reconstruction project that eventually will extend from the Fort Pitt Tunnel to Interstate 79.

Initial work will be on the shoulders between Rosslyn Farms and a point about a quarter-mile east of the Carnegie interchange.

PennDOT spokesman Steve Cowan said crews will restripe the highway, shifting and narrowing travel lanes in that section to allow installation of a concrete barrier along the edge of the right lanes to protect construction crews. The lanes will be 10 1/​2 feet wide, or 1 1/​2 feet narrower than typical freeway lanes.

The work will cause single-lane closures starting at 10 p.m. daily through Friday, with restrictions lifted by 6 a.m. each day.

Once in place, the lane shifts might cause delays during peak hours, Mr. Cowan said.

“Any time we change the traffic pattern it takes a few days for motorists to adjust. They will adjust,” he said.

A speed limit of 45 mph will be posted for the work zone, and PennDOT is urging drivers to comply with the state law requiring headlight use while traveling in construction areas.

Eventually, the parkway will be resurfaced in both directions between I-79 and the tunnels.

The contract also calls for bridge improvements, replacement of the crumbling concrete median barrier, lengthening of on- and off-ramps and sign updates.

Much of the work will occur next year, Mr. Cowan said.

The project is one of three occurring this year on the Parkway West in Allegheny County.

Work began last month on a $3.7 million project to add a fourth outbound lane for nearly a mile approaching I-79 in Rosslyn Farms.

Besides road reconfiguration, shoulder reconstruction and sign improvements, the project includes construction of sound walls to buffer Rosslyn and Revere roads from parkway noise.

Yet to be bid is an estimated $20 million project to remove the deteriorated ceilings in the Fort Pitt Tunnel. The work might begin in late September and will cause eight weekend closures, four inbound and four outbound, at dates not yet determined, Mr. Cowan said.

The fourth round of weekend closures likely will not occur until 2016, when the tunnels will be repaved, he said.

Jon Schmitz:, 412-263-1868 or on Twitter @pgtraffic.

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