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Westbound Squirrel Hill Tunnel Closed Again this Weekend

Consider alternate routes—and the fact they will be more congested than usual.

The westbound (inbound) Squirrel Hill Tunnel on the Parkway East (I-376) will be closed this weekend, Oct. 19-22.

The westbound closure will occur from 9 p.m. on Friday through 5 a.m. on Monday, according to PennDOT District 11 Press Officer Jim Struzzi. Signs will be posted to guide motorists.

The posted detour will require westbound traffic to form a single lane exiting at the Edgewood/Swissvale interchange. Significant delays should be expected and alternate routes considered. The outbound (eastbound) tunnel will remain open, although short-term traffic stoppages may occur for equipment access and material removal.  

The same westbound closure of the Squirrel Hill Tunnel is also planned tentatively for the weekend of Nov. 2-5 if necessary.

In addition to other rehabilitation work and multiple improvement activities, crews will continue removing the drop-ceiling inside the westbound tunnel. When overall work is completed, vertical clearance in the westbound tunnel will increase by two feet from 13 feet, 6 inches to 15 feet, 6 inches. Preservation and rehabilitation work will also continue on the bridge that carries westbound I-376 over Commercial Street.

Removing the drop ceiling prior to winter should reduce the number of times traffic needs to be stopped for over-height vehicles attempting to enter the westbound tunnel. On average, traffic needs be stopped about 40 times per month at the Squirrel Hill Tunnel entrance due to over-height vehicles.   

To minimize impacts on businesses, which will remain open, different detours are being used during day and night hours (see attached maps). PennDOT has made improvements at key intersections and police will be posted to keep traffic moving on the posted detours. 

Daylight detour (6 a.m. to 8 p.m.) 

  • Exit at Edgewood/Swissvale (Exit 77)
  • Make right onto South Braddock Avenue
  • Left onto Forbes Avenue
  • Left onto Beechwood Boulevard
  • Right onto Forward Avenue
  • Access ramp to westbound I-376

Night detour (8 p.m. to 6 a.m.)

  • Exit at Edgewood/Swissvale (Exit 77)
  • Make right onto South Braddock Avenue
  • Left onto Forbes Avenue
  • Left onto Murray Avenue
  • Bear right onto Forward Avenue
  • Access ramp to westbound I-376

Suggested alternate detour (if westbound Parkway East is congested)

  • Exit onto northbound Route 8/Ardmore Boulevard at Wilkinsburg Interchange (Exit 78)
  • Continue north on Penn Avenue
  • Make left onto Braddock Avenue
  • Make right onto Forbes Avenue
  • From Forbes Avenue, follow detours provided above.

Significant delays should be expected. Please allow extra time when traveling through the area and consider alternate routes.

Possible Alternate Routes

To avoid lengthy delays on the posted detour, PennDOT also suggests taking the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Monroeville to the Harmar Interchange (Exit 48) and using southbound Route 28 to access downtown. Weekend closures that have been occurring on southbound Route 28 at the Millvale interchange will be postponed during the westbound tunnel weekend closures.   

Motorists may also consider taking the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Monroeville to the I-79 interchange in Cranberry (Exit 77) and following I-79 south to the Parkway North (I-279) to Pittsburgh. Travelers from the east can use westbound I-70 to northbound I-79 to the eastbound (inbound) Parkway West (I-376).         

Motorists are reminded to use all open lanes to the merge point. Please be courteous to other motorists and allow them to merge. The effectiveness of traffic flow entering the detour route is highly dependent on driver behavior.

Using all lanes and allowing a consistent, courteous merge will reduce congestion and delay and help traffic move off the Parkway East through the detour.

PennDOT has created a webpage for the project the features general information and detour route travel times and cameras. Go to www.dot.state.pa.us/district11 and click the Squirrel Hill Tunnel Rehabilitation Project link on the right.

The travel time and camera links are in the lower right hand corner along with other detour information. Motorists are advised to visit the website before traveling and plan trips accordingly. (Note: You may need to wait for the screen to refresh to view cameras. Cameras will only be active when detour is in use.) 

The $49.5 million project to rehabilitate the Squirrel Hill Tunnel includes updating electrical, lighting, air control and ventilation systems, structural repairs to the walls and arched ceiling, tile repairs, installation of a water line and other improvements.

To minimize impacts on the traveling public, rehabilitation work on the bridge that carries the Parkway East over Commercial Street will be performed as part of the tunnel project. Expansion dam on ramps at the Edgewood/Swissvale interchange (Exit 77) will also be replaced.

Visit 511pa.com or call 511 from any phone to check traffic conditions on major roadways before traveling. 

Get construction updates and traffic advisories from PennDOT by sending email addresses to jstruzzi@pa.gov. Please type “Subscribe-Parkway East” in the subject line.

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