Pittsburgh Highways
North Hills Busway
North Hills Expressway HOV Lanes

These are the high occupancy vehicle lanes, which are the only ones in Pennsylvania, that are located in the middle of Interstate 279 and Interstate 579 from Pittsburgh into the North Hills. The lanes were a part of the Parkway North project and were opened in 1989 when the expressway opened.  This is the only busway that allows car onto the right-of-way and provides express bus service between downtown and the North Hills. The HOV lanes can be accessed from downtown Pittsburgh, the North Shore, McKnight Road, Perrysville Avenue, and I-279 southbound.

The worst accident to occur on the HOV lanes happened in 1995 between two cars which hit each other head-on and cost the lives of six people.  A PennDOT employee did not close the gates to the outbound entrances, and was later convicted of improperly changing the lanes while under the influence of cocaine.  After the accident, the number of HOV users dropped by more than 1,000 per day.  Wrong-way accidents are unheard of today; however, this hasn't helped to increase the ridership.

The latest improvements to the HOV lanes were unveiled on May 18, 2006 in the form of a $770,000 automated "fast-acting" gate system which are the latest in a series of improvements such as CCTV cameras, automated interlocks on permanent gates, and improved signage since the 1995 accident.  The new gates will be down during morning rush hours with overhead sensors to detect approaching inbound vehicles.  If one is detected, the gate will raise to allow it to pass.  During afternoon rush hours and weekends when the HOV lanes are open in the outbound direction, the gates will be up.

When the Coronavirus, or COVID-19, pandemic swept into the country in March 2020, PennDOT took measures to stem the spread to their employees and staff.  All rest areas and welcome centers and Driver License and Photo License centers were closed for two weeks, and construction projects on roads under the Department of Transportation's jurisdiction were stopped as of Tuesday, March 17.  PennDOT District 11 decided to indefinitely close the HOV lanes for public safety purposes as well.  District Spokesman Steve Cowan said it was necessary as staff were working and have limited access to all of the normal traffic cameras.  "We won't have the compliment of maintenance personnel on the ground to keep the HOV lanes open to the level of safeness that we are comfortable with.  Additionally, we are anticipating much lower traffic volumes."  The closure was to have begun at 5 AM on March 17, but District 11 decided to keep them closed after a fatal accident took place Monday evening.

Interstate 279
Interstate 579
North Hills Busway/North Hills Expressway HOV Lanes Map
HOV Lanes - PennDOT
I-279 HOV - Port Authority of Allegheny County

Southern Terminus (I-279):
Southern Terminus (I-579):
Reedsdale Street in Pittsburgh
Bedford Avenue in Pittsburgh
Northern Terminus: I-279 in Perrysville
Length (I-279):
Length (I-579):
5.17 miles
0.92 miles
Names: North Hills Busway
North Hills Expressway HOV Lanes
Emergency: 911
412-255-1350  (Port Authority Police)

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Page updated May 01, 2020.
Content and graphics, unless otherwise noted, copyright Jeffrey J. Kitsko. All rights reserved.
Information courtesy of Port Authority of Allegheny County, WTAE-TV Pittsburgh, and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.