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List of road projects during 1999

Monday, December 28, 1998

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Here is a list by government agency, corridor or county of most major transportation projects on tap in 1999 and the status of some uncompleted projects started in 1998.

Not every projects is listed, since there are hundreds of them, but they will be announced in regular and regional issues of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette as plans are firmed up or as construction gets under way.

Port Authority Transit

Construction will connect the west end of the 5-mile West Busway to the Parkway West near Carnegie and northeast end to West Carson Street at Corliss, with completion planned for late 2000. Light-rail traffic will be limited for the second consecutive year while the tracks are replaced down the middle of Broadway in Beechview.

Construction is to begin in summer, starting in Wilkinsburg, on the first mile of a 2.6-mile extension of the Martin Luther King Jr. East Busway through Edgewood and Swissvale.

PAT expects to award contracts to buy 28 more light-rail vehicles, at a cost of about $3 million each; make modifications to the Stage I line between Downtown and South Hills Village; expand the operations center; expand park-n-ride lots; and, maybe, award the first Stage II contract rebuilding Overbrook, Library and perhaps the Drake lines of the T.

Pennsylvania Turnpike

Reconstruction of seven miles of the original 160-mile turnpike between Irwin and Carlisle is to start in spring, closing the truck climbing lane on Laurel Mountain east of Donegal. Expect single-lane restrictions only on off-peak hours, but slow-moving trucks will be a hazard for the eastbound phase.

The portion of the Mon-Fayette Expressway south of Uniontown will be done by year's end. It will open locally in Fayette County, but West Virginia hasn't started building the four-mile link to Interstate 68, because of financial problems.

If the turnpike can resolve a dispute with a mining company, all 17 miles of the Mon-Fayette expressway between Interstate 70, Fallowfield, and Route 51 in Large could be under construction by the end of the year.

In one month, the turnpike will start replacing an overpass that carries Route 819 traffic over the toll road in Mount Pleasant Township, Westmoreland County.

Interchange improvements and a new bridge at New Stanton are winding up. When the original 60-year-old concrete bridge is demolished, traffic on I-70 will be disrupted for about four weeks.

City of Pittsburgh

Reconstruction of Wood Street, Downtown, will continue through summer to Fourth Avenue, including new sidewalks and street fixtures.

A second contract is to be awarded to transform the "Hot Metal Bridge" between Pittsburgh Technology Center and the LTV South Side development site from an industrial bridge over the Mon River into a bridge for pedestrians, bicyclists and two lanes of regular traffic.

Rehabilitation work on the last of three Schenley Park bridges, this one located near Phipps Conservatory, is not expected to be finished before fall, but the bridge deck is to be open for traffic in time for Pittsburgh's annual Grand Prix vintage car race in mid-summer.

Allegheny County

The biggest project, and one certain to get notoriety, involves closing the Glenwood Bridge, a four-lane structure with a 10-ton weight limit. Holes have popped up in the deck and required emergency repairs several times now.

Chief engineer Don Killmeyer said the bridge is too narrow and shaky to try to fix while maintaining traffic. So a contractor will have a short time - probably six months out of an 18-month contract - to replace the deck, and reopen the bridge to traffic while other repairs are made.

Interstate 79

No work in Allegheny County, with one exception: $1.8 million in repairs to prevent hairline cracks from spreading in the steel superstructure of the six-lane arch-bridge over Neville Island. That work shouldn't affect traffic too much, because I-79 traffic is lighter there than elsewhere in the county, plus two lanes will remain open in both directions even when one is closed.

To the north, I-79 northbound traffic will be crossed over to southbound lanes, one lane in each direction, between the McKean and Erie county lines. Traffic also will be restricted to one lane each way for resurfacing in Crawford County, from the bridge over Geneva Marsh to Mercer County.

To the south, there also will be two construction zones with single-lane restrictions: From the Meadowlands north to near Houston, a two-mile section for which PennDOT recently awarded an $11.5 million reconstruction contract, and around Marianna, Greene County, where interchange and mainline work have been under way for a year.

Interstate 80

Single-lane closures scheduled between Exits 2 and 3A in Mercer County and from the Mercer County line east to Exit 4 in Venango County, both for repaving and related work.

Interstate 70

Numerous headaches in store for motorists, namely in the North Belle Vernon and Pricedale area, near the Washington-Westmoreland county border. PennDOT is rebuilding two bridges and repairing one mile of concrete on a stretch that Mon Valley motorists share with interstate traffic.

PennDOT officials also said they hoped to begin $20 million repairs to the Smithton Hi-Level Bridge, about five miles east of the other construction site, but Westmoreland County officials are already telling PennDOT to forget it this year.

Two projects started last year and resuming this year - resurfacing east and west of Washington, Pa. - will restrict traffic to one lane each way, maybe until July if there's a cold, wet spring.

PennDOT - Allegheny County

Fort Pitt Bridge - Ten routes will be affected by the impact of ramp and overpass repairs that begin April 1 around Point State Park. Main detour will be via West End Bridge. This year's $16 million contract is for outbound work. Next year, PennDOT will award a contract for inbound work.

Parkway East - Concrete pavement repairs that began last year from the Squirrel Hill Tunnel inbound to Bates Street will resume, from Bates Street east to the Greensburg Pike Bridge. Then, work will move inbound again from Greensburg Pike Bridge to Squirrel Hill Tunnel. Since work is restricted to weekends and nights, and postponed for events such as Pittsburgh's Fourth of July fireworks, PennDOT said it could take all year to finish. Expect delays even when one lane is closed on busy weekend hours.

Route 51 - PennDOT is paying $3 million to tear out the old concrete and replace it over a half-mile in Elizabeth Township, from Roberts Hollow Road to Paydays. It will be the fourth time in 13 years that PennDOT has worked in the same section south of the Mon River.

Route 28 - PennDOT begins a five-year, $40 million reconstruction of Etna interchange, starting with a new deceleration lane from Route 28 southbound to Route 8 northbound, merging with Route 8 before the Kittanning Street signal.

Route 22 - PennDOT will do what engineers say is "a mirror image of what we did last year," but this time on the westbound lanes between the Washington county line and Route 30. It means another year of delays going to and from Coca-Cola Star Lake Amphitheatre.

Route 28 - Single lane closures while bridge repairs are made at Bull Creek and Natrona exits.

Route 51 - By early- to mid-spring, north-south traffic on Route 51 is expected to use the new overpass and avoid congestion at street level. It is part of a $40 million interchange that PennDOT says won't be finished until fall because the contractor can't start building the new Warrington Avenue intersection until Brashear School classes end in June.

McKnight Road - Work on the bridge carrying McKnight Road over Nelson Run Road resumes when weather permits, sending North Hills commuters back to single-file over Nelson Run Road Bridge. Goods news: All four lanes may be reopened by early June.

However, starting in early June, Penn-DOT plans to resurface 2.7 miles of McKnight Road from Nelson Run to Houston Road, near the new Kohl's, work that will last through early fall but that will restrict traffic only for non-peak hours.

Ohio River Boulevard - Despite the controversy, PennDOT plans to begin a $4 million widening in Bellevue by June, adding left-turn lanes and new signals from Kendall Avenue to Dillsworth Run Bridge. PennDOT said Bellevue Council has agreed to the project after years of hearings, plan revisions and discussions.

Route 88 - In June, three-fourths of a mile of Route 88 will be repaired, a two-year, $15 million project that includes replacing and repairing the walls along the creek in Overbrook. The work will take place between McNeilly Road and Route 51. Southbound traffic will be maintained. Northbound traffic will be detoured - PennDOT still isn't sure just where. In future years, the work will be done south of McNeiley and Route 88-51 intersection will be rebuilt.

Freeport Road Bridge - The bridge at Route 910 will be replaced starting in July. Traffic will be crossed over to the opposte side, so one half can be fixed at a time.

Route 837 - Concrete roadway will be patched, and old-style steel beam median barrier will be replaced with a concrete median, from the Duquesne-McKeesport Bridge to North Second Street. One lane in each direction, from May through June 2000.

Haymaker Road - In a partnership with Monroeville, PennDOT will improve the intersection with Old William Penn Highway at a cost of $2.7 million. The project won't be easy on motorists: They'll be detoured for much of an eight- month construction season.

PennDOT - Westmoreland County

Route 30 - Two more miles will be resurfaced in Unity, continuing the repairs to the Lincoln Highway east of Greensburg started two years ago. PennDOT also is gearing up to do .6-mile near Route 136 late in the year.

Route 56 - A troublesome intersection near Valley High School in New Kensington is to be reconstructed at a cost of $1.3 million.

Route 217 - PennDOT plans to do resurface the state-owned road through the middle of Derry Borough.

PennDOT - Washington County

Route 19 - Resurfacing is planned in two North Strabane locations: at Washington Road and North Avenue Mall and at Washington and Weavertown roads. PennDOT also will replace a Route 519 bridge in North Strabane, work to last through April 2000.

PennDOT - Fayette County

Brownsville - PennDOT plans to rehabilitate the Lane Bane Bridge over the Mon River, a $25 million project that will take two lanes to complete. The span carries Route 40 traffic between Fayette and Washington counties. Traffic is to be one lane in each direction during work.

Route 201 - Three lanes of the two-lane highway are to be repaved in Dunbar and Franklin at an estimated cost of $4 million.

PennDOT - Greene County

Route 18 - At least three bridges over Ten Mile Creek in Center Township are to be replaced this year for an estimated $4 million.

PennDOT - Beaver County

Route 60 - Work virtually everywhere again. PennDOT will spend $8.4 million on this year's patching program, requiring single-lane closures, probably this summer and next, in Hopewell, Potter and Center townships. Patching and resurfacing that began last year north of the Ohio River will resume, probably finishing by the end of June. The Route 60 bridge over St. Joe's Zinc Plant in Vanport will be re-decked starting in May, necessitating a traffic crossover pattern and one-lane restrictions until late this year.

Route 68 - PennDOT acquired some houses to realign the road between Wolf's Run Road and Barclay Hills. This year, it will spend about $3.8 million for the work that includes realignment, resurfacing and bridge replacement. One lane is to stay open during work, with traffic signals controlling alternating traffic.

Route 51 - Traffic will be detoured out of state for this one. Into Ohio, while the Taggart Road Bridge (over railroad tracks) is replaced in DarlingtonTownship at a cost of $4 million.

PennDOT - Armstrong County

Armstrong County motorists and officials who have been fighting for years for the Kittanning Bypass may finally get their wish.

PennDOT's planned program for 1999 includes the bypass - a two-mile extension of the Allegheny Valley Expressway - on its official list, but there are two caveats: First, the $34 million project is scheduled for a December 1999 letting, meaning bidding is still a year away, and second, PennDOT's program has been known to change at the last minute, depending upon such things such as availability of funds and politics.

Route 28 - Four pairs of bridges are to be repaired this year, continuing PennDOT's bridge rehabiltiation program on the Allegheny Valley Expressway. The department also will repair concrete roadway slabs over 8.6 miles of the road.

PennDOT - Butler County

Route 228 - PennDOT has earmarked $6 million to rebuild the Route 228 overpass of I-79, representing the first phase of what ultimately is to be a free-flowing, direct connection between the Pennsylvania Turnpike and I- 79. Bids are to be let this winter, meaning construction should start this spring.

Route 422 - The section called the Butler Bypass, 7.5 miles of four-lane road, is to be resurfaced at a cost of $2.2 million.

PennDOT - Indiana County

Route 22 - The Armagh Bypass will be resurfaced for $3.7 million, a project that will bring one-lane traffic in each direction for 2.2 miles.

Route 422 - Almost seven miles will be patched and repaired east of Indiana at a cost of $5.5 million. Also, Penn DOT will resurface 1.7 miles through Yellow Creek State Park.

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