Port Authority of Allegheny County will close the Martin Luther King Jr. East Busway between Penn Station and Grant Street starting Monday, July 12, for approximately two-and-a-half months.

The closure will begin at 9 a.m. Monday so that contractors may begin repaving nearly seven miles of the busway.

Penn Station will be closed during this work and riders who normally use the station’s A, B or C stops will have to use other Downtown stops served by their route. The project will affect 28 Authority bus routes, which will enter and exit the busway via the 26th Street ramp in the Strip District.

Signs will be posted to advise riders of the closure and guide them to appropriate bus stops.

Temporary stops will be established on Liberty at Eleventh, near the Greyhound Station, and on Liberty at the Amtrak Station, but riders are strongly encouraged to use other existing stops. Riders using wheelchairs may wish to use a stop other than Liberty at Amtrak due to limited accessibility.

Regional Bus Stop D behind the Amtrak Station will remain open for the seven regional carriers that use the East Busway, with the exception of Westmoreland Transit, which will use the temporary stops in addition to its other Downtown stops.

Later this summer, contractors will repave the rest of original span of the busway in sections, ending at Wilkinsburg Station. More details on future work and detours will be released at a later date.

The rebuilding is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2010, and will help prevent wear-and-tear on the approximately 800 buses that use the busway everyday as well as create a much smoother commute for the busway’s 25,000 daily riders. Contractors will also conduct barrier and guide rail repair, and make improvements to sidewalks and curb-cuts.

This project will span the length of the original busway, which opened in 1983. The easternmost section between Wilkinsburg and Swissvale stations does not need to be rebuilt, having opened in 2003.

The rebuilding will cost $7.5 million dollars and is included in Port Authority’s FY2010 capital budget, which ensures annual maintenance needs are met and the Authority’s system is kept in a state of good repair.

For more details on detours, visit www.portauthority.org or call Customer Service at (412) 442-2000 or for TTY, (412) 231-7007