The inbound Armstrong Tunnel will close starting at 6 a.m. on Saturday, March 4. Additionally, the right lane for inbound traffic on Second Avenue will close at the road’s intersection with the Armstrong Tunnel. The traffic restrictions are required for a $13.1 million Armstrong Tunnel rehabilitation project.
Cars will be detoured using Second Avenue, Ross Street, and Forbes Avenue, while trucks will be detoured using Second Avenue, B Street, First Avenue, Grant Street, Boulevard of the Allies, Commonwealth Place, Liberty Avenue, Fifth Avenue, Sixth Avenue, and Forbes Avenue.
The inbound Armstrong Tunnel is expected to reopen during winter 2024, at which time crews will close the outbound tunnel and adjacent sidewalk. Those restrictions are anticipated to end in spring 2025. When a start date for the outbound tunnel and sidewalk closures is finalized, that information will be provided to the public via press release, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Nextdoor, and Allegheny Alerts.
The tunnel is used by an average of 11,039 vehicles daily. While this project will impact traffic in and around Downtown Pittsburgh, it is necessary to extend the life of the tunnel and ensure driver and pedestrian safety within it. Recent inspections have indicated deterioration of the tunnel’s concrete, ceramic tile liner, and lighting fixtures need to be addressed and its safety systems should be brought up to current standards.
Work during the project includes concrete repairs; removal of the ceramic tile liner and replacement with fireproof wall panels; masonry cleaning at the tunnel entrances and exits; lighting, electrical, and fire detection and suppression system upgrades; installation of a CCTV monitoring system; and placement of new pavement, curb, sidewalk, signage, and pavement markings.
After the tunnels reopen, they will have a new lane configuration intended to slow traffic and improve safety. Currently, there are two 10-foot-wide lanes with no shoulders in each tunnel. After the project, the inbound tunnel will have one 12-foot lane with 4-foot shoulders except at the tunnel exit, where there will be two right-turn lanes. The outbound tunnel will have one 12-foot lane with 2- to 3-foot shoulders, except at the tunnel exit, where there will be a left-turn lane and a straight/right-turn lane. Additionally, the current 3-foot, 9-inch sidewalk adjacent to the outbound tunnel will be widened to 6 feet, 3 inches, except at its entrances.
The project will be completed by Mosites Construction Company of Robinson. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is paying 80% of the cost, and Allegheny County is paying 20%.
The 1,298-foot-long tunnel, named in honor of former County Commissioner and Pittsburgh Mayor Joseph G. Armstrong, opened in 1927 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It was last rehabilitated between 1989 and 1991.