PRT to invest $150 million during next four years to bolster safety, reliability and longevity of light-rail infrastructure

March 20, 2024
The investment will advance maintenance and renewal projects to repair subway tunnel concrete rail foundations, replace light-rail track, grade crossing work and station upgrades.

Starting in April, Pittsburgh Regional Transit (PRT) will begin a multi-year rehabilitation effort by investing more than $150 million to bolster the safety, reliability and longevity of the Pittsburgh, Pa., region’s light-rail infrastructure. 

PRT will combine multiple projects that were initially intended to be completed separately to streamline operations, maximize efficiency and minimize disruptions while enhancing the overall reliability and safety of the critical transit corridor. 

The projects include expanding an ongoing effort to repair the concrete rail foundations in the downtown subway tunnels, replacing more than 10,000 feet of light-rail track and four grade crossings in  Castle Shannon, Mount Lebanon, Dormont, Beechview and inside the Mount Lebanon and Mount Washington transit tunnels, reconstructing Belasco Station in Beechview, upgrading Station Square and Dormont Junction light-rail stations and rehabilitating the Panhandle Bridge, the 1.2-mile span that takes light-rail cars over the Monongahela River near Station Square. 

Many of the projects are fully funded. PRT notes it will continue to seek funding for those that are not. 

“These projects are an important investment in our region’s future,” said PRT CEO Katharine Kelleman. “By fortifying our light-rail system, we’re building a stronger, safer and more reliable foundation for years to come.”  

The first project will begin April 5 with the closure of the light-rail system between Steel Plaza and Gateway stations in downtown Pittsburgh for about seven weeks. 

The projects will continue consecutively through 2028. As one project ends, another will begin. PRT notes some projects will present only minor travel delays to riders while others will close portions of the light-rail system and require significant detours. 

Full project timelines and service information, including detours, will be announced as the agency approach additional project milestones: 

Plinth work: April 5 – May 30, 2024 

PRT will expand the repairs and replacement of the plinth, the concrete beam upon which the light-rail tracks sit in the downtown subway tunnels, to seven days a week. This work has been occurring on-and-off on weekends only since late 2022.  

After May 30, the work will continue some weekends through the summer. PRT says an additional multi-week closure to complete the work will likely be required in 2025.  

May 17 – June 15, 2024 

Rail cars will single-track on between St. Anne Station and Willow Station while crews replace the tracks at Willow Street. 

June 16 – July 14, 2024 

Rail cars will single-track on the Red Line between Overbrook Junction and Dormont Junction while crews replace the tracks at Alfred Street. 

June 16 –  Aug. 31, 2024  

The Red Line will be closed from Overbrook Junction to South Hills Junction to accommodate several rail projects. During the closure, all Red Line trips will be detoured via the Blue Line and will be renamed “Blue Line” to avoid confusion. 

PRT will operate two new temporary bus routes to cover the area. The temporary bus routes will be included in PRT’s regular schedules and viewable in PRT’s and third-party real-time applications. 

PRT will also operate a rail shuttle between Dormont Junction and Overbrook Junction to allow riders to travel south to Overbrook Junction and transfer to the Blue Line at Willow to board any inbound light-rail car to downtown Pittsburgh or outbound rail car to South Hills Village. 


 The Mount Washington Transit Tunnel will be closed for several months while the rail within the tunnel is replaced. Rail cars and buses will detour via the tracks that run through Pittsburgh’s Allentown neighborhood. The exact schedule for the project will be announced later this year. 


 PRT will replace the tracks inside the Mount Lebanon Transit Tunnel. The work is expected to start in 2026. 


 The Panhandle Bridge will be rehabilitated for the first time in about 40 years. The work is expected to start in 2026 and will take approximately 30 months to complete. 

Station Square and Dormont Junction light-rail station rehabilitation 

Designs are expected to be complete by the end of 2024, although PRT says there is currently no estimated timeline for either of the projects, as they are not yet fully funded.