Liberty Tunnels reconstruction project entering final phase
Reconstruction of the Liberty Tunnels will enter its fifth and final phase this year, while work will continue on the Liberty Bridge with no delays expected after last year’s fire damaged the span.
“Once we finally get the bridge and tunnel completed, we should be out of that area for a long time,” state Department of Transportation District 11 Executive Dan Cessna said during a March 20 meeting at Chartiers Valley Intermediate School in Scott Township to update various construction projects across the region.
Work on the Liberty Tunnels begins again in May and will primarily occur during evenings and weekends, meaning there will be some closures at those times as crews continue rehabilitating the two tunnels. Construction crews are also continuing reconstruction of the tunnels’ southern side on Route 19 at the interchange with Route 51, which is expected to be finished by July.
The tunnels will be completed in April 2019 while construction on the Liberty Bridge is expected to continue until next August as workers replace the deck and paint the steel superstructure. PennDOT officials said the Sept. 2 fire that closed the bridge for nearly a month will not delay the project.
“A lot of work remains to be completed on the Liberty Bridge,” Cessna said.
Overall, Cessna said District 11, which includes Allegheny, Beaver and Lawrence counties, is preparing to work on 67 new projects this year that total $385 million, along with another 72 other projects already underway.
“We’ve got a lot of projects geared up and ready to go,” Cessna said.
In addition to the Liberty Bridge and Tunnel projects, workers will install fire suppression systems inside the outbound lanes of the Fort Pitt Tunnels, which will bring evening lane restrictions until May.
Locally, the $2.8 million project to rebuild Cochran Road will wrap up in April as workers install sidewalk ramps and pavement markings between Beverly Road and Route 19.
Ewing Road in Collier will be milled and repaved after a slide in that area.
Also, an $8.18 million project to repave Route 22 and repair bridges along the highway in North Fayette and Findlay townships will be completed in May. There will be some single-lane closures in that area.
In Upper St. Clair, a culvert bridge on Morrow Road over McLaughlin Run will be closed from July to August as construction crews replace it as part of the state’s Rapid Bridge Replacement Program.
Other major projects across the region include reconstruction of the I-376 Business Loop near Pittsburgh International Airport.
Portions of the Parkway North’s HOV lanes will also be closed periodically as PennDOT begins its two-year, $88 million reconstruction of the carpooling lanes of the highway.