PennDOT announces outbound Squirrel Hill Tunnel closure schedule


PITTSBURGH - Pennsylvania Department of Transportation officials announced Wednesday that the outbound Squirrel Hill Tunnel on the Parkway East in Pittsburgh will be closed April 5-8.

The tunnel will remain open in both directions during the upcoming holiday weekend, March 29-April 1.

The closure will occur from 11 p.m. on Friday, April 5, through 6 a.m. on Monday, April 8, officials said.

Crews will begin work postponed from this past weekend to remove the outbound tunnel ceiling and continue rehabilitation and preservation work on the outbound bridge over Commercial Street.

When overall work is completed, vertical clearance in the eastbound tunnel will increase from 13 feet, 6 inches to 14 feet, 9 inches. Additional, multiple improvement activities will occur in the tunnel to maximize productivity during the closure.  

The posted detour will require eastbound traffic to form a single lane exiting at the Squirrel Hill/Homestead interchange (Exit 74). Officials said significant delays should be expected and alternate routes considered.

The inbound tunnel will remain open while the outbound tunnel is closed, although short-term inbound traffic stoppages may occur for equipment access and material removal.  

To minimize impacts on businesses in Squirrel Hill, which will remain open and accessible, different detours are being used during day and night hours.

Daylight detour (6 a.m. to 8 p.m.) 

  • Exit at Squirrel Hill (Exit 74)
  • Make left onto Forward Avenue
  • Continue taking slight right and stay on Forward Avenue
  • Left onto Beechwood Boulevard
  • Right onto Forbes Avenue
  • Right onto South Braddock Avenue
  • End detour at outbound Parkway East on-ramp  

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

  • Exit at Squirrel Hill (Exit 74)
  • Make left onto Forward Avenue
  • Continue slight left/straight onto Murray Avenue
  • Right onto Forbes Avenue
  • Right onto South Braddock Avenue
  • End detour at outbound Parkway East on-ramp  

Motorists are reminded to use all open lanes to the single lane merge point on the Parkway East. 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. Zipper! 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.

If significant congestion and delay are occurring during the outbound closures, PennDOT suggests the following alternative:

  • From eastbound I-376, take the Forbes Avenue (Exit 72A) to Oakland
  • Continue on Forbes Avenue through Oakland
  • Make left onto South Bellafield Avenue
  • Make right onto Fifth Avenue
  • Continue east on Fifth Avenue
  • Make right onto Penn Avenue (Route 380/8)
  • Continue through Wilkinsburg
  • Access Parkway East in Forest Hills     

The following additional closures are planned through the month of April; however it is important to note this schedule is tentative and subject to change based on work progress and other variables:

  • April 19-22, outbound closure
  • April 26-29, outbound closure

Additional closures will be announced in the future as progress is evaluated.

PennDOT reminds motorists the tunnels remain open weekdays with only single-lane closures occurring weeknights.

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 dams on ramps at the Edgewood Swissvale interchange (Exit 77) will also be replaced. Overall work will conclude in early summer 2014.

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