My wife and I drove home from Pittsburgh International Airport at 10:30 last Friday morning, paying little attention to the electronic sign boards facing inbound traffic on the Parkway West. They stated a frequent message of construction ahead and to use an alternate route due to a tunnel emergency. Alternate routes hereabouts are often tours of residential areas ill-suited to any additional traffic.
Our usual 45-minute drive took nearly three hours.
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation had about 10 traffic cones in the right lane entering the tunnel. This situation warranted strong alerts from the airport to Interstate 79, with state police cruisers stationed at those locations and at the intersection of Route 30 and Interstate 376.
Traffic stalled from the Fort Pitt Tunnel to west of I-79 is a public safety hazard. More than emptying gas tanks and filling bladders, it impedes emergency responders. If PennDOT is going to choke traffic on the only artery into the city from the Pittsburgh International Airport, it needs to stop pretending this is a cow town whose wayfarers can stop their carts at the nearest tavern. A city working to build and maintain its reputation for quality can do better than being paralyzed on a bright calm day by PennDOT.