PennDOT District 11 is announcing the I-579 “Cap” Urban Connector project in the City of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, will begin Monday, July 15 weather permitting.

The $29.34 million project will consist of the construction of a structure spanning I-579 to link downtown Pittsburgh and the Hill District. In part, the Cap project will create a new three-acre greenspace which will include pedestrian pathways, bicycle routes, rain gardens for stormwater management, and design elements from neighborhood artists. Additional construction activities include retrofitting existing retaining walls and bridges to accommodate the new structure, roadway reconstruction, drainage improvements, traffic signals, highway lighting, ITS, and landscaping.

Work will begin on Monday, July 15 at 7 a.m. and includes fence and barrier erection, clearing and grubbing activities, and other preparatory work. To allow this work to occur, long-term sidewalk restrictions nearest to I-579 will occur in the following locations: 

  • Centre Avenue between Chatham Street and Washington Place – Sidewalk restricted to a ten-foot width
  • Bigelow Boulevard between Chatham Street and Washington Place – Sidewalk restricted to a ten-foot width
  • Washington Place between Bigelow Boulevard and Centre Avenue – Sidewalk will close to pedestrians
  • Chatham Street between Bigelow Boulevard and Centre Avenue – Sidewalk will close to pedestrians
  • Pedestrian walkway and tunnel between Chatham Street and Seventh Avenue will close to pedestrians

Pedestrians will be detoured via the sidewalks on the opposite side of the roadway for the Washington Place and Chatham Street sidewalk closures. The roadways will remain open for vehicular traffic.

Posted Detours

Pedestrian Walkway and Tunnel

Chatham Street to Seventh Avenue

  • From Chatham Street, follow Webster Avenue to Sixth Avenue
  • Crossover Bigelow Square and continue on Sixth Avenue to Grant Street
  • Turn right onto Grant Street and follow to Seventh Avenue
  • End detour

Seventh Avenue to Chatham Street

  • Same detour in the opposite direction

Short-term lane restrictions will occur as needed on Bigelow Boulevard, Centre Avenue, Chatham Street, and Washington place weekdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. through the end of July to allow crews to mobilize equipment and deliver materials.

Work impacting I-579 is tentatively scheduled to begin in early August with overnight mainline closures for overhead sign structure removal and overnight ramp closures for lighting pole removal. Additionally, a long-term closure of the ramp from northbound I-579 to Seventh Avenue will be implemented through late summer 2021. The northbound I-579 off-ramp to Bigelow Boulevard and the southbound I-579 on-ramps from Seventh Avenue and Bedford Avenue will have periodic long-term, overnight, and weekend closures. Also, overnight and weekend closures of I-579 will occur. Additional details will be provided in advance of physical work beginning.

The project will significantly improve the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists in several ways:

  • Elimination of the substandard discontinuous sidewalk along the Bigelow Boulevard/Webster Avenue Bridge used by pedestrians;
  • Reconstruction and upgrade of the pedestrian crosswalk at the intersection of Bigelow Boulevard/Chatham Street, including curb cut ramps, pedestrian pushbuttons and audible countdown signal heads;
  • Reconstruction of the sidewalks along the perimeter of the project site including Bigelow Boulevard, Chatham Street, Washington Place, and Centre Avenue;
  • Incorporation of pedestrian and bicycle signage;
  • Installation of appropriate path lighting, as needed for the safety of all users; and,
  • Addition of landscaping, benching, and resting areas among other public amenities.

For additional details on the project including information on sustainability, funding, and public input please visit http://www.pgh-sea.com/LHR-i579cap.htm.

To help keep motorists informed as work progresses, PennDOT has created an email distribution list for I-579 Crosstown Boulevard traffic advisories and construction updates. Enroll by sending email addresses to stcowan@pa.gov. Please write “Subscribe – I-579 Cap Project” in the subject line.

Motorists can check conditions on more than 40,000 roadway miles, including color-coded winter conditions on 2,900 miles, by visiting www.511PA.com. 511PA, which is free and available 24 hours a day, provides traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, traffic speed information, and access to more than 950 traffic cameras.

511PA is also available through a smartphone application for iPhone and Android devices, by calling 5-1-1, or by following regional twitter alerts accessible on the 511PA website.

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