With rainstorm approaching, Pittsburgh crews again close Forward Avenue/Commercial Street corridor
The city has again closed a landslide-vulnerable stretch of road that links Pittsburgh's Squirrel Hill and Swisshelm Park neighborhoods.
Concerns over heavy rainfall expected Sunday night prompted the closure of Commercial Street/Forward Avenue hours before an intense rainstorm is expected to hit the region.
The road will not reopen until Monday, Department of Mobility and Infrastructure officials said shortly before noon Sunday.
With thunderstorms and up to 2 inches of rain expected later today @PghDOMI will forced to once again close Forward Avenue/Commercial Street in Squirrel Hill/Swisshelm Park as a preventive measure. Will likely remain closed Monday https://t.co/lcSJ3B0SdB— City of Pittsburgh (@CityPGH) April 15, 2018
The winding, two-lane road descends from Beechwood Boulevard in Squirrel Hill — where it is also known as Forward Avenue — and goes below the Parkway East and through the Nine Mile Run valley to Swisshelm Park.
That lane will reopen as soon as city work crews clear away any debris left by the storm and determine the road is safe for drivers.
The Forward/Commercial corridor will be reopened with the single inbound lane as soon as possible after the rains have passed, officials said.
Crews have established a "buffer" between a slide area and travel lane that shifts traffic away from the vulnerable hillside but will allow emergency vehicles to access the hillside if necessary.
Forward Avenue becomes Commercial Street near the entrance to the Summerset at Frick residential development.
The slide caused a portion of a parking lot at the Walnut Towers at Frick Park apartment building to collapse.
An intense storm is expected to bring heavy rainfall to much of southwestern Pennsylvania starting about 3 p.m. and growing stronger as the night goes on.
The National Weather Service in Moon issued a flash flood watch and warned of possible landslides. A watch means that flooding is possible but not certain.
Meteorologists predict 1.5 to 2.5 inches of rain.
Small creeks and streams will be vulnerable to flash flooding, meteorologists said. Water levels of the Allegheny, Monongahela and Ohio rivers will rise.
Natasha Lindstrom is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 412-380-8514, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @NewsNatasha.