Debris falling from Fort Pitt Tunnels causes 2nd closure this week

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PITTSBURGH - Pennsylvania Department of Transportation officials said the outbound lanes of the Fort Pitt Tunnels were closed Thursday after debris fell from the ceiling.

The closure only lasted a few minutes, but the same problem caused a brief closure on Tuesday, Channel 11’s Trisha Pittman reported.

"This morning we had a situation where a piece of plywood that was covering a hole, in the ceiling, was loose.  And in the interest of safety, we wanted to go in and remove that piece of plywood just for precautionary measures,” PennDOT spokesman Steve Cowan said.

While the Fort Pitt Tunnel did undergo a major rehabilitation project in the past 10 years, the ceiling was not replaced.

“The hangers that hold the ceiling in place are showing signs of deterioration. It’s not a safety issue. We go in and inspect this on a routine basis. However, they either do need to be replaced or we need to take out the ceiling,” Cowan said.

PennDOT said they are opting to remove the ceiling at an estimated cost of up to $20 million.