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Squirrel Hill Tunnel work causing traffic back-ups

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Saturday, April 6, 2013, 3:36 p.m.

The Squirrel Hill Tunnel rehabilitiation project caused traffic delays Saturday on Interstate 376 and through Squirrel Hill, authorities said.

Traffic got so thick on Murray Avenue in Squirrel Hill, it took 15 minutes for Dominic Mineo, owner of Mineo's Pizza House on Murray Avenue, to travel four blocks to the bank.

“It's clogged,” Mineo said. “You watch the light change two or three times and you didn't move three or four car lengths.”

Mineo headed for the back streets — but many drivers seemed not to know how else to avoid the main arteries, he said.

Traffic seemed heavier along Braddock Avenue in front of D's Six Pax and Dogz in Regent Square, server Zach Persichetti said, but people seemed better prepared to handle the disruption than in the past.

“Overall, business hasn't changed,” Persichetti said. “People are accepting it. It's not a huge deal to get off in Squirrel Hill and go the back way.”

The outbound, or eastbound, tunnel is closed until 6 a.m. Monday. Traffic merges into a single lane that exits the parkway at the Squirrel Hill-Homestead exit. PennDOT cameras showed backups stretching several miles on Interstate 376.

Route 28 traffic also was heavy. Dispatchers said they believed motorists were using it as a detour for the tunnel closure.

Motorists use Forward, Beechwood, Forbes and South Braddock avenues for the daytime detour, replacing Beechwood with Murray Avenue at night.

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