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Old 11-08-2013, 11:30 AM
 
249 posts, read 309,458 times
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I'm heading to the airport for a 7pm flight tonight, leaving from Highland Park. Can anyone give me some advice on when to leave? I never drive during rush hour around here so I really don't know what to expect going through the Fort Pitt tunnel.

If I'm coming down 28 can I avoid the tunnel somehow?

Thanks!
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Old 11-08-2013, 11:37 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh
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At rush hour, I think its a good idea to avoid the Ft. Pitt by going across the West End Bridge and West End Bypass to get on the parkway at the south end of the Ft Pitt tunnels.

Its certainly the way I've gone at that hour to get to points west and south.


Just stay right instead of going across the Ft. Duquesne Bridge and take Ohio River Blvd a short distance and the exit for the West End Bridge is on the right.
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Old 11-08-2013, 11:44 AM
 
Location: Washington County, PA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wyoh View Post
I'm heading to the airport for a 7pm flight tonight, leaving from Highland Park. Can anyone give me some advice on when to leave? I never drive during rush hour around here so I really don't know what to expect going through the Fort Pitt tunnel.

If I'm coming down 28 can I avoid the tunnel somehow?

Thanks!
It'd be a rough trip if you went the parkway west. I'd suggest going 28 to 65 and then down 79. You'll hit some traffic on 65 leaving town, but nothing compared to the parkway.
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Old 11-08-2013, 11:49 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh
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Originally Posted by speagles84 View Post
It'd be a rough trip if you went the parkway west. I'd suggest going 28 to 65 and then down 79. You'll hit some traffic on 65 leaving town, but nothing compared to the parkway.

65 might be sort of jammed nowadays with West Carson St. closed northbound between the West End Bridge and the Rocks on the other side of the river.
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Old 11-08-2013, 12:05 PM
 
249 posts, read 309,458 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by speagles84 View Post
It'd be a rough trip if you went the parkway west. I'd suggest going 28 to 65 and then down 79. You'll hit some traffic on 65 leaving town, but nothing compared to the parkway.
Would I take 79 down to the parkway? That's what Google says but it seems like a long detour to go all the way down to 376.

I'll probably check out traffic on google maps when I'm about to leave to see how it looks. I don't plan on going through the tunnel with these alternatives but if I did what kind of delay are we talking about? Coming from D.C. gridlock I've never been in traffic in Pittsburgh that I thought was bad. Would I sit on the parkway for an extra hour if I went through the tunnel (Highland Park to airport is roughly 35-40 minutes with no traffic).

Thanks for your advice!
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Old 11-08-2013, 12:19 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh area
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It all sucks, better leave now.

7pm flight, I usually leave from downtown at 4pm. It's all packed.

Definitely don't approach tunnel from Rt 28. That tunnel approach will be backed to about PNC Park just like in the morning. In fact, it's ALREADY backed to PNC Park, and it's not even 2:30pm yet. (I can see it from here.) Friday afternoon, traffic is a little earlier.

Since I'm downtown what I usually do is go to the south end of Stanwix and get on the parkway. That puts me in the far left lane ready to go through tunnel. But the parkway will be slow slow slow for a ways. No two ways around that, just have to leave early.

Parkway outbound is slow down to about Carnegie. Then it picks up to go up and over the hill. Then slow again between I-79 and Rt 22/30 exit.

I've gone around the West End at that time of day, doesn't help.

Haven't gone all the way down 65 recently.

I did go out 279 to Camp Horne, make a right, then left, cutting over on Mt Nebo to 79. Keeps you moving but it's not really faster. If you're coming down 28 though, that might be viable. You can also just make a left on Camp Horne and go to 65 to 79. Camp Horne usually backs up a bit, but so does Mt Nebo a little. It's all crazy.

I hesitate to suggest you traverse downtown on surface streets. But it would get you to a better tunnel approach. If I were you, though, I think I'd muddle with the 279 northbound and try to avoid the entire tunnel/West End/etc mess down here. Exit at Camp Horne and choose your poison. I'd say probably left on Camp Horne (at bottom of ramp), then right on Rt 65 (that's after driving a few miles), then to I-79 south to 376 west.

Allow an hour or so drive regardless. It might be less, but it'll probably be an hour unless you leave now, maybe even if you leave now.
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Old 11-08-2013, 12:23 PM
 
Location: Western PA
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Allow at LEAST an hour this time of day. Maybe more. The Ft. Pitt Bridge approach is just the first hurdle. Once you're through the tunnel, there are at least two or three slowdown points along the outbound parkway between the tunnels and 79. Once you're past IKEA, it should be no problem.
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Old 11-08-2013, 12:30 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by I_Like_Spam View Post
65 might be sort of jammed nowadays with West Carson St. closed northbound between the West End Bridge and the Rocks on the other side of the river.
I've taken 65 out past McKees Rocks a few times in recent weeks, and I didn't notice an unusually slower ride. Volume was definitely up, but it was moving pretty smoothly - the only real issues I noticed were the left-turn lanes for the West End and McKees Rocks Bridges backing up quite a bit.

In general I like taking 65 if I have to get to the airport during the evening rush hour. From 65, getting on 79 works, but I actually like taking the Sewickley Bridge and coming up Thorn Run Rd (it's more of a straight shot, geographically speaking, plus you still have to deal with Robinson-bound traffic once you've gotten on to the Parkway from 79). Honestly, unless there's a total stoppage on the Parkway (i.e., an accident), I don't know that these "alternate" routes are even any quicker in the end, minute-for-minute, but I personally prefer the feeling that I'm continuously moving.

Another trick is to take the Liberty Bridge through the Liberty Tubes, hop on 51 for a minute, and jump on the Parkway from there. You'll still have to sit through some periods of total crawl, but this route provides the benefit of not having to deal with getting into the Ft Pitt Tunnel from the Downtown side, which is about as patience-destroying an experience exists regarding Pittsburgh traffic (especially if you're coming from the Ft Duquesne Bridge - people really don't seem to appreciate letting other drivers into the tunnel-bound lanes on the Ft Pitt Bridge).
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Old 11-08-2013, 12:42 PM
 
Location: somewhere near Pittsburgh, PA
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How about taking the West End bridge to Steuben St, go through Crafton then take 60 through Robinson, and hop on the Parkway at the Robinson Exit?
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Old 11-08-2013, 12:45 PM
 
249 posts, read 309,458 times
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Thanks all for the great advice. I prefer moving to the stress of traffic, even if the miles are much longer. I think I'll probably take that 279 North to Camp Horne option. I'll report back on how it went once I return .
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