Construction to begin on PRT’s downtown University Line Sept. 13

Sept. 1, 2023
The University Line is PRT’s first BRT project under the new level of service branded as PRTX.

Construction on the downtown portion of Pittsburgh Regional Transit’s (PRT) University Line will begin Sept. 13. The University Line is PRT’s first bus rapid transit (BRT) project under the new level of service branded as PRTX. Planning on the BRT project has lasted for a decade.

Construction will start on Fifth Avenue between Liberty Avenue and Market Street, adjacent to Triangle Park. Independence Excavating, Inc., who was awarded $27.8 million on March 24 for construction of the project by PRT’s Board, will be working weekdays from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. The initial work includes relocating and replacing water and sewer infrastructure.

PRT notes traffic on Fifth Avenue will be reconfigured for the first 30 days of construction. Both lanes of Fifth Avenue heading toward Fifth Avenue Place will be closed from Market Street to Liberty Avenue. Vehicles traveling toward Fifth Avenue Place will use the remaining travel lane. Traffic coming from Liberty Avenue onto Fifth Avenue will be detoured onto Sixth Avenue or Fourth Avenue via Stanwix Street. The sidewalk along Fifth Avenue adjacent to Triangle Park will be inaccessible during the work.

Once construction is complete, the Downtown Loop will include five PRTX stations:

  1. Ross Street (Fifth Avenue at Ross Street)
  2. William Penn Place (Fifth Avenue at William Penn Place)
  3. Market Square (Fifth Avenue at Market Street)
  4. Wood Street (Sixth Avenue at Wood Street)
  5. Steel Plaza (Sixth Avenue at Grant Street)

Buses will enter downtown on Fifth Avenue, turn right onto Liberty Avenue, right onto Sixth Avenue and left onto Forbes Avenue. Construction of the Downtown Loop is expected to take 18 months. The second phase of the project – from Uptown to Oakland – will be put out for bid before the end of 2023.

The University Line will improve accessibility and safety throughout the corridor. The project includes new sidewalks, ADA ramps, protected bike lanes, traffic signals and landscaping.

PRT says communities with PRTX service can expect increased reliability and on-time performance thanks to transit-only travel lanes and amenities such as new shelters with real-time arrival screens.