The Armstrong Tunnel, a crucial link between Pittsburgh’s Uptown and South Side neighborhoods, sees over 11,000 drivers daily. However, years of neglect left the tunnel in dire need of repairs. On March 4, 2023, the tunnel closed for rehabilitation. Today, the city and county celebrate a milestone as the inbound lane has reopened to traffic.

The $13.1 million project, managed by Allegheny County’s Department of Public Works, has reached its halfway point, with the inbound tunnel reopening this past weekend.

Unlike the grand entrance of the Fort Pitt Tunnel, the Armstrong Tunnel had a dilapidated with time. Ceramic tiles were falling from the walls, and the orange lights gave the tunnel the eerie glow of a 1980s horror movie. Pedestrians had to rely on a thin slab of concrete and prayer for separation from traffic.

Now, the ceramic tiles have been replaced, modern LED lights have greatly improved visibility, and the pedestrian paths have been expanded. The inbound lane teases what the final renovation will reveal. The ceramic tiles have been replaced with stainless steel panels. Lighting has increased from 140 lights to 370 high-efficiency LEDs. The pedestrian walkways have been widened to 6 feet, 3 inches in parts, eliminating the need for pedestrians to get personal in order to squeeze past each other.

City and county officials showcased the improvements during a hard hat tour on April 5th. The 1,298-foot outbound side is the next phase of the $13.1 million project. By its completion, the Armstrong Tunnel will feature new masonry, CCTV monitoring, electrical systems, and fire suppression systems.

The Armstrong Tunnel, which originally opened in 1927 and was named after former Allegheny County Commissioner and Pittsburgh Mayor Joseph G. Armstrong. It last underwent rehabilitation between 1989 and 1991. This year’s refurbishment is not just a facelift but a necessary modernization. Officials expect the work to be completed in 2025.

Foo, editor of The Pittsburgh Reporter, guides our newsrooms and meets neighbors. He shares heartfelt stories often overlooked.