Drivers get signals crossed by Routes 51, 88 intersection work
Temporary changes to traffic patterns at the Route 51/Route 88 intersection left some drivers confused this week as PennDOT engineers re-evaluate the plan.
Drivers traveling northbound on Route 51 were rerouted to a newly constructed “jug handle,” or ramp-like structure, to loop around the intersection as crews work to replace five bridges under the northbound lanes of Route 51, spokesman Steve Cowan said. So far, the changes are set to remain in place at least through the end of 2014.
Some commuters said the changes have added to the congestion of northbound traffic on Route 88 headed toward the Route 51 intersection in the Overbrook/Whitehall area.
“It's horrible,” said Susan Seibel, 60, of Pittsburgh's Overbrook neighborhood, whose five-minute drive to her daughter's home on Overbrook Boulevard now takes 20 minutes and requires many turnarounds.
Seibel said she's witnessed drivers “screaming and yelling” at each other since the traffic pattern changes, as many don't seem to know where they're supposed to go.
“There's very much frustration,” said Seibel, who frequents the Rite Aid at the intersection and now has a hard time getting there.
Paul Deiseroth, 44, of Overbrook, said he wants PennDOT to change the temporary design.
“It's like a figure-8 race,” said Deiseroth, who lives on the hill above the intersection and now finds himself making several turns, including using the Goodwill parking lot in Whitehall as a turnaround, to head northbound or navigate Route 51.
Cars still can use Ivyglen to access Route 51 and Route 88, but engineers are reviewing that, Cowan said. They also are looking at the timing of the traffic lights at the intersection.
Vehicles frequently could be seen Tuesday pulling off of Ivyglen and darting across two lanes of Route 51 traffic to head southbound onto Route 88.
“We're looking at it from a safety standpoint,” Cowan said. “We want to make sure that no one is putting themselves or other individuals in an unsafe situation.”
Southbound traffic on Route 51 will remain in its current configuration, with two lanes open at all peak hours, Cowan said.
The $19 million Route 51/Route 88 improvement project will replace five bridges, construct a new bridge, upgrade signals, lighting and sidewalks and also improve drainage. Approximately 42,000 vehicles use Route 51 every day. The project, which began in August 2013, is behind schedule because of utility work and now is set for completion at the end of 2016, Cowan said.
As part of the project, Stewart Avenue remains closed, and there is no date set for its reopening, Cowan said.
South Hills residents said they understand the work is needed, but it has been a challenge to keep the end result in mind.
“I'm not one of those guys who's opposed to change,” Deiseroth said. “I just think the temporary stuff here wasn't well planned.”
Seibel said she worries about the final product.
“I'm not seeing the big picture at all,” she said. “Hopefully, it will work out, but I'm not putting money down on it.”
Stephanie Hacke is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5818 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Suspended chief’s hearing will be public
- Baldwin-Whitehall OKs settlement payment to 3 teachers
- Glass Run Road work to continue through November
- Facebook friends help Brentwood police