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Widening of Route 30 could cost over $100M, PennDOT says

Joe Napsha
| Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017, 11:00 p.m.
Traffic moves along Route 30 in North Huntingdon as an overpass carries traffic along the the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
Tribune-Review
Traffic moves along Route 30 in North Huntingdon as an overpass carries traffic along the the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

A 5.5-mile stretch of heavily traveled Route 30 from Irwin to Route 48 in North Versailles could be widened to improve safety as part of an ambitious project the state says will likely cost more than $100 million.

The design also includes concrete barriers to divide opposing lanes and nine jug-handle turnarounds at key intersections.

The preliminary design plans for the revamped Route 30, which is traveled by 20,000 to 26,000 vehicles daily, were unveiled Thursday during an open house at Norwin High School.

The project is designed to make the road safer and cut down on the number of crashes, said Rachel Duda, assistant district engineer for PennDOT's District 12 in Uniontown. The majority of the accidents in the area have been rear-end collisions and T-bone collisions caused by vehicles turning into traffic.

Mike Turley, North Huntingdon assistant manager, said the township was concerned about the impact the barriers would have on businesses. Customers are accustomed to turning at a store, rather than driving down the road to turn around.

“We're still pondering what we are seeing in the design,” Turley said.

While the median barriers dividing the eastbound and westbound lanes are the preferred design for safety reasons, Duda said she was aware of business concerns.

“We're not in the business of putting them out of business,” Duda said.

What PennDOT is proposing along the stretch of highway is similar to the improvements made along Route 22 from Delmont to Murrysville. That business district, she said, continues to thrive. Traffic signals would adapt to the flow of traffic, rather than cycle.

Irwin Councilwoman Debbie Kelly said she was concerned with a proposal to create a connector between Route 30 in Irwin and Pennsylvania Avenue by slicing through a section of Irwin Park.

The connector would cut into a little-used section of the park, said Scott Thompson-Graves, project manager for the Whitman, Requardt and Associates of Cranberry, the consulting engineer for the project. The suggestion came from previous public input, Thompson-Graves said.

The preliminary engineering for the project is about to begin, at which time the preliminary design will be refined.

Joe Napsha is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-836-5252 or jnapsha@tribweb.com.

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