Route 56 under New Kensington cloverleaf overpass closed Wednesday, Thursday overnight
The first two nighttime closures tied to the replacement of the cloverleaf bridge carrying Route 366 over the Route 56 Bypass in New Kensington is scheduled for this week.
A lengthy official detour will likely result in motorists who know the area finding their own, shorter ways around.
They are the first two of what could be as many as 16 such closures.
PennDOT announced on Tuesday that Route 56, at the spot where it goes under Route 366, will be closed in both directions from 6 p.m. Wednesday to 6 a.m. Thursday, and 6 p.m. Thursday to 6 a.m. Friday.
The passing lane of Route 366 coming down the hill from Taco Bell and across the overpass bridge, which loops around to Route 56 under the bridge, also will be closed, PennDOT project manager Dan Bartko said. The Tarentum-bound side of the bridge and the ramp taking traffic toward Valley High School will remain open, he said.
Crews with Carmen Paliotta Contracting will be removing the concrete deck on one-half of the overpass bridge.
The official detour is a 25-mile loop using Routes 780, 380, 66, 356 and 56. It is using comparable state routes that can handle the same weights and offer turns wide enough for tractor-trailers.
Local drivers will surely use alternate routes, with Leechburg and Craigdell roads in New Kensington and Lower Burrell being likely options.
Nighttime closures tied to the bridge work are limited to 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. Mondays through Thursdays.
Although there could be as many as 16 closures, Bartko said the contractor is trying to keep the number to between eight and 10.
There will no closures during the New Kensington Community Days, the weekend of June 20-22 at nearby Memorial Park.
The next nighttime closure may not be for about another month or so, Bartko said.
Bartko said the contractor still plans on having the bridge finished by year's end despite being behind schedule. Under contract, the company has until next May to finish work.
The $2.8 million project will result in a wider, higher and better-supported bridge at the cloverleaf.
Brian C. Rittmeyer is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4701 or firstname.lastname@example.org.