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Pittsburgh's Mon Incline open after yet another post-renovation closure

| Wednesday, June 1, 2016, 12:15 p.m.
The Monongahela Incline opened for business this morning Wednesday Nov. 18, 2015 after being closed for repairs since Labor Day. Repairs to the the 635-foot funicular connecting the South Side to Mt. Washington included renovating cars, tracks and the control system throughout the course of the $3.5 million, 10-week project.
James Knox | Trib Total Media
The Monongahela Incline opened for business this morning Wednesday Nov. 18, 2015 after being closed for repairs since Labor Day. Repairs to the the 635-foot funicular connecting the South Side to Mt. Washington included renovating cars, tracks and the control system throughout the course of the $3.5 million, 10-week project.

The Monongahela Incline reopened Wednesday afternoon after being closed since Monday.

Port Authority of Allegheny County officials took the incline out of service about 6:45 a.m. Monday to fix the computer system circuit board that controls the inline, spokesman Adam Brandolph said.

But the problem turned out to be something else.

“After further inspection today, the issue appears to have been related to the tensions between the haul and safety cables,” Brandolph said in a press release Wednesday. “There was more tension on the safety cable than was required, causing the haul cable to slip and give false speed indications to the drive system.

“Crews reinstalled the tension indicator and tested the incline between noon and 1 p.m. with no incident before returning it back into service.”

The 146-year-old incline has been plagued with service interruptions since a $3.5 million renovation in mid-November.

Problems with the incline's automated doors and switches that communicate with its computer system led to a four-day shutdown in March, and the March repairs were the 10th service interruption since the renovation. The Port Authority was unable to say Wednesday how many interruptions there have been since March.

“It's very concerning,” said Jessica Murdy, 29, of Mt. Washington. “That's not safe, and with all of these recent issues, I'm afraid it's going to come falling down.”

Murdy and her 11-month-old son were stranded inside one car when the incline broke down this year, she said.

The incline connects Mt. Washington and Station Square in the South Side.

Murdy continues to ride the incline — despite the fact it scares her — because it's much quicker than taking a bus, she said. The recurring service problems wreak havoc with her schedule.

“It's aggravating because taking the bus adds 10 minutes on to my trip,” she said. “So when I need to be somewhere and I come over and see the incline is broken again, that makes me late.”

Authority officials are working on a long-term plan to prevent service interruptions, but Brandolph said it was “too early” to discuss specifics.

Staff writer Phillip Poupore contributed. Michael Walton is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-380-5627 or mwalton@tribweb.com.

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