Construction on Pittsburgh Regional Transit’s University Line between Oakland and Downtown Pittsburgh just started in September, but its completion already has been pushed back more than a year to sometime in 2027.

When officials accepted a $150 million federal grant for the project last June, the agency said it expected construction to be done in two phases over two years. The first phase in Downtown Pittsburgh began as expected last fall, but bids on the second phase in Uptown and Oakland that were expected by the end of last year now won’t go out for another three to six months.

Amy Silbermann, the agency’s chief development officer, said last week the agency adjusted the completion schedule to sometime in 2027 just after receiving the grant based on guidance from the Federal Transit Administration. Federal officials had expressed concern that PRT hadn’t allowed enough time for unexpected delays.

The agency hasn’t sought bids for the second phase of the project yet because it is still finalizing agreements with Pittsburgh and utility companies on responsibilities each entity will have during construction. The same issue held up the start of work Downtown last year, but Silbermann said they are a normal part of major construction projects.

The delay in seeking bids shouldn’t push up the expected cost of the project, Silbermann said. She outlined progress on the project for the authority board’s planning and stakeholder relations committee Thursday.

“There have not been any red flags at this point,” she said. “Inflation was a real problem a year ago, but it seems to have settled down.”

The University Line project will link the state’s second- and third-largest business centers with bus-only lanes. The goal is to keep buses out of traffic congestion so they have a reliable schedule and don’t bunch up together.

Buses will travel inbound on Fifth Avenue and outbound on Forbes Avenue with limited stops at five stations Downtown. The project also will include bicycle lanes on Forbes Avenue and sidewalk improvements in Uptown.

Crews for Independence Excavating Inc. have been moving utilities to prepare for University Line stations at Fifth Avenue and Ross Street, Fifth and William Penn Place, Fifth and Market Square, the Wood Street T Station on Liberty Avenue, and Steel Plaza at Sixth Avenue and Grant Street. They also have been laying foundations for new traffic lights Downtown.

The agency intends to use sections of the system as they are completed, and the Downtown leg should be done early next year.

Ed covers transportation at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but he's currently on strike. Email him at

Ed Blazina

Ed covers transportation at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but he's currently on strike. Email him at