Kathy Liebler

Manager, Public Affairs & Media Relations

C  O  M  M  I  S  S  I  O  N       N  E  W  S       R  E  L  E  A  S  E


Carl DeFebo (717) 939-9551, Ext. 2934

October 24, 2002


One-Hour Westbound Turnpike Closure 
Planned Near Somerset This Weekend

Allegheny Tunnel traffic limited to one lane each direction beginning Saturday at 9 p.m.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (Thursday, October 24, 2002) — The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission announced today that the Turnpike will be temporarily closed to westbound traffic between the Bedford Interchange #11/146 and Somerset Interchange #10/110 from 8 p.m. until approximately 9 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 26. At that time, all westbound vehicles will be diverted off the Turnpike at Bedford, and exiting motorists will receive alternate-route directions to reenter the Turnpike at Somerset. During the hour-long westbound closure, Turnpike personnel will establish a crossover pattern to redirect westbound vehicles through the eastbound tube of the Allegheny Tunnel.

When the westbound Turnpike reopens at approximately 9 p.m. Saturday, traffic in the Allegheny Tunnel will be limited to one lane in each direction — with two-way traffic in the eastbound (southern) tube — until approximately 8 a.m. Sunday Oct. 27.  The 11-hour shutdown of the westbound (northern) tube will allow maintenance crews to complete imperative work to prepare the facility for winter operation. The work involves replacing lighting and reflectors, repairing tiles, cleaning the tunnel’s drainage system, repainting lines, and servicing the tunnel’s fire extinguishers and carbon-monoxide detectors.

“Typically, we can accomplish annual maintenance work without having to shut down the roadway,” said Director of Maintenance Robert Wallett. “However, the traffic restrictions already in place for the Somerset Reconstruction complicate the tunnel operation, and the safety of our customers and employees is paramount.”

Westbound motorists should be aware of the possibility of exiting traffic backing up onto the Turnpike at Bedford during the one-hour closure. Both eastbound and westbound travelers should also be cautious while traveling through the Allegheny Tunnel after 9 p.m. Saturday, as a two-way traffic condition will exist.

“We scheduled the work for Saturday night because it’s the lightest-traveled time of the week,” Wallet said. “In addition, we are taking a number of precautions to alert customers and keep everyone safe.”

A second night of tunnel maintenance work is scheduled for Saturday Nov. 2, when eastbound traffic will be switched into the westbound tube of the Allegheny Tunnel. However, a temporary shut down will not be needed in this case. All planned work is weather sensitive and could be delayed or postponed in heavy rain or wind.


 P.O. Box 67676, Harrisburg, PA 17106-7676         Phone: (717) 939-9551         Fax: (717) 986-9649