1444 Hillsdale Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15216
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Borough Manager Ben Estell met with representatives from the Port Authority of Allegheny County this week to discuss the severe noise coming from the fans in the Dormont-Mt. Lebanon Tunnel. PAAC officials apologized for the lack of communication, but are now making efforts to regularly update the Borough and its residents.

Why are the fans running?
A December inspection by PennDOT showed corrosion occurring within the tunnels and PAAC was ordered to remove the moisture from the tunnel to prevent further damage. As the tunnels are too narrow for additional equipment, the existing emergency fan system must be used to reduce moisture levels.

Why are the fans so loud?
Unfortunately, the tunnel fans are older units and do not have variable speeds. They are either “on” or “off” at all times.

What’s being done to help alleviate the noise?
After initial complaints, PAAC reduced the number of hours the fans would run. Eventually, they decided to alternate the use of fans at the two ends, with the Mt. Lebanon end fans running three days per week and the Dormont end two days. This week, based on improved conditions in the tunnel, PAAC officials reduced the number of hours the fans would run per day down to four. With continued improvement, hours of operation will drop further.

PAAC has already engaged a firm to replace the fans with modern, variable speed fans, but the build time for those fans is extensive and that project is not expected to be completed until 2022. However, PAAC officials have asked the same firm to help create baffles for the existing fans to deflect the noise away from Dormont residents.

What’s next?
PAAC will soon have a website established to provide regular updates on their project. Additionally, they will provide a number, separate from the regular customer service line, for residents to call regarding this project. Regular meetings have also been established for the Borough Manager and a representative of Rep. Dan Miller’s office to meet with PAAC officials and receive updates. The Borough will post a link to the PAAC website as soon as it is available.