Green Tree sound barrier project left in limbo
Green Tree residents whose backyards overlook the busy Parkway West hoped for years to get barrier walls to block some of the traffic noise and smells, but such a project depends on the Legislature passing a transportation funding bill, officials say.
Even then, getting the walls built could be years away.
Residents of Parkedge Road want PennDOT to build barriers along the south side of the parkway between the Carnegie and Green Tree interchanges, where only a few dozen feet of trees separate many backyards from the interstate.
Led by Councilman Ron Panza, a citizens' committee is working to convince lawmakers of the project's worth.
PennDOT District 11 Executive Dan Cessna on Tuesday delivered mixed news to the committee: Adding noise barriers could be part of a $115 million project to reconfigure the Carnegie and Green Tree interchanges, but that project lacks money unless lawmakers include it in a $2.5 billion transportation bill they might negotiate in mid-November.
“Currently, these projects are not funded, but they are on the ‘decade of investment' list that was in (Senate Bill) 1,” Cessna said.
The House adjourned for summer without approving the Senate bill to raise money for roads, bridges and mass transit. Supporters, including business and labor groups, say such an investment would keep Pennsylvania competitive. Critics say the plan to raise money by lifting the cap on the wholesale gasoline tax would lead to higher prices at the pump, effectively amounting to a tax increase.
PennDOT has not produced specific designs for the interchanges but its proposal would lengthen acceleration and deceleration lanes to meet federal standards for interstates.
Noise barriers alone are a lower priority than maintenance and safety improvements for PennDOT, but they could become part of the interchange project if the neighborhood qualifies, based on measurements of the highway's impact.
“The sound walls aren't a definite,” Cessna said. “We'd have to do a noise evaluation, but given the proximity of many of the houses ... we do believe it will likely qualify.”
The neighborhood was built in the 1950s, about the same time as the parkway but before major destinations such as shops in Robinson added traffic to the highway and long before its Interstate 376 designation.
Residents mounted efforts to get a barrier for decades, and Panza responded to a new call for action by organizing the committee in early 2012.
“We expected 10 to 15 people but we're bringing 75 to 80 people per meeting,” Panza said. “They have sound barriers protecting cow farms out by Harrisburg. Now it's our time to get some.”
A petition supporting funds for the interchange and noise barrier project will be available for residents to sign at the Green Tree Municipal Building, 10 W. Manilla Ave., until Monday. After that, the petition will be sent to legislators in Harrisburg.
Cessna said planning and getting necessary state and federal approvals for the interchange project — and accompanying sound barriers — would take at least three years, even if the transportation bill passes.
Panza said the committee would shift gears to persuading state representatives to pass something similar enough to the Senate bill that it would include the interchange projects. State Reps. Dan Deasy, D-Westwood, and Dan Miller, D-Mt. Lebaon, support the effort, he said.
“Lots of people are happy because we saw some light at the end of a long, long tunnel,” Panza said.
Matthew Santoni is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-380-5625 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Add Matthew Santoni to your Google+ circles.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Dozens of high-schoolers attend annual seminar on global events
- Woodland Hills Academy students, staff to move into Swissvale school
- Hollywood Theater in Dormont just shy of fundraising goal
- Young achiever: Michelle Do
- Always-charming Oakmont celebrates 125 years
- Allegheny County program to help police reunite lost pets, owners