PennDOT projects about to go on hiatus for winter
As the temperature begins to drop, PennDOT will halt several road projects for the winter, including most work on the Parkway West, officials said.
Paving and widening work on the Parkway West is scheduled to stop by early December and resume March 1. The narrow lanes in the work zone near the Rosslyn Farms exit will be restored to their normal 12-foot width, the Carnegie exit ramps will reopen and the overnight closures will be suspended. Crews will continue some work to rehabilitate bridges near the Carnegie interchange, making deck and structural repairs, PennDOT officials and the contractor said.
“We have a scheduled hiatus at the beginning of December. The nature of the work has a lot to do with it, and as tight as everything is, snow removal wouldn’t be easy,” said Denis Mazzoni, project manager for Swank Construction Co. in New Kensington. “A lot of it is for safety, but also concrete and asphalt don’t work well in the cold. Working outside in the winter really depends on the type of work. If you’re building a structure, then yeah, but you’re not going to see too many projects with asphalt.”
Construction will continue under two bridges on the highway where crews will be doing deck work, Mazzoni said.
The cold weather won’t impact plans to begin work in the Fort Pitt Tunnel this month to remove its obsolete ceilings. At least one weekend closure will occur before the end of the year, with more in January and February. Single lane closures overnight inside the tunnel likely will begin in January, PennDOT spokesman Steve Cowan said.
PennDOT District 11 Executive Dan Cessna, whose territory includes Allegheny, Beaver and Lawrence counties, said the decision whether to work in the winter comes down to safety and whether the materials involved are usable in cold weather. Surface work is temperature sensitive, Cessna said.
“With the Parkway West, it’s safety considerations mainly. We wouldn’t feel comfortable with snow removal in the current (narrow) configuration,” Cessna said. “With the Fort Pitt Tunnel work, we feel comfortable working on a winter weekend if there’s no (city) events.”
Route 28 construction, which made the road a four-lane highway uninterrupted by traffic lights, is scheduled to be mostly completed by Thanksgiving, leaving only minor work to do in the spring. And paving on I-79 is likely to be completed by early December.
Paving work on Route 286 in Monroeville also will halt for the winter, officials said.
Reconstruction of the West Carson Street viaduct will continue through the winter, as will the Route 51/88 intersection reconfiguration project. Detours in place will continue.
“With the 51/88 project there’s so much utility work, and they can do that in colder weather. The West Carson Street project is in the middle of testing electrical circuits, and that can continue as well,” Cowan said.
Work on the Birmingham Bridge also will continue for now.
“With the Birmingham Bridge, they’ll go as long as they can,” Cessna said. “You can’t paint when it gets cold, but steel repairs can go on.”
Bobby Kerlik is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7886 or [email protected].