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Westmoreland

Westmoreland Transit looks for ways around Route 30 delays into Pittsburgh

| Thursday, April 12, 2018, 1:09 p.m.
Riders board a Westmoreland Transit bus headed for Pittsburgh at 7:15 a.m. on Thursday, April 12, 2018. The riders had been waiting at a park-and-ride in North Huntingdon.
Renatta Signorini | Tribune-Review
Riders board a Westmoreland Transit bus headed for Pittsburgh at 7:15 a.m. on Thursday, April 12, 2018. The riders had been waiting at a park-and-ride in North Huntingdon.

Fifteen minutes in the morning means a lot for Jill Tyner of North Huntingdon.

Before a landslide closed a portion of Route 30 in East Pittsburgh, it meant she had some time to make sure her 11-year-old son ate breakfast and caught his school bus.

But now that the highway's closure affects the bus route she takes to work at the Allegheny County Courthouse, Tyner has to get going earlier and hope that her son can get himself out the door. She used to catch the 7:30 a.m. bus but now rides the 7:15 a.m. route.

“I'm not very happy about that,” she said while waiting on a cool Thursday morning at a township park and ride. “My biggest concern is my son.”

Westmoreland County Transit Authority officials hope to have a revised plan in place by Monday's morning rush hour to deal with service delays caused by the landslide.

Three of its most popular commuter service routes from Westmoreland County to Pittsburgh have been impacted by the road closing, causing delays of up to 15 minutes for passengers, said Meghan Yuhouse, the authority's operations manager.

“It's backed everything up throughout the day,” Yuhouse said. “We understand it is an inconvenience, and that's why we're trying to find the best solutions.”

A portion of Route 30 collapsed about 40 feet down a hillside on Saturday after a retaining wall gave way, PennDOT officials said. The state transportation agency earlier had closed westbound traffic and later eastbound traffic in that area after the road buckled and then when they determined it was due to a landslide.

Potential changes are being considered to Westmoreland bus routes into and out of Pittsburgh as well as potential timing adjustments for the 30 bus runs impacted by the landslide, Yuhouse said.

Officials hope to announce changes Friday and implement them Monday, she said.

Steven Munden of South Huntingdon has noticed about 20 minutes added to his 3:40 p.m. trip back to the park and ride following classes at Duquesne University.

The authority's 1F Route from Greensburg to Pittsburgh, the 3F Route from Mt. Pleasant to Pittsburgh and Route 4 into Pittsburgh all travel on Route 30 into the city.

The authority's eastbound buses out of Pittsburgh are following the PennDOT recommended detour that operates through East McKeesport before returning to Route 30 beyond the area of the road closing, Yuhouse said. Westbound buses into the city follow that same detour. PennDOT's recommended detour for westbound traffic, which the authority does not use, would have the buses travel a short distance on I-376, or the Parkway East, from Churchill to Wilkinsburg.

Detours are expected to be in place for months as work crews evaluate the landslide area and rebuild the road.

Yuhouse said the authority has not determined if commuter ridership has been affected by the detours.

About a dozen people got on the 7:15 a.m. bus on Thursday from the park and ride, including Erik Kelly of North Huntingdon, who works at PNC Bank as an application developer. The extra time doesn't bother him.

“I fall asleep no matter where we go,” Kelly said.

Rich Cholodofsky and Renatta Signorini are Tribune-Review staff writers. Reach Cholodofsky at 724-830-6293 or rcholodofsky@tribweb.com. Reach Signorini at 724-837-5374, rsignorini@tribweb.com or via Twitter @byrenatta.

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