ShareThis Page

Brownsville, Broughton realignment, planned for decades, improves flow

| Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
The newly opened intersection of Brownsville and Broughton Roads in Bethel Park.

Sparta Gyros was struggling in its location on Brownsville Road and a 2½-year road improvement project that ran past the South Park restaurant didn't help matters, said a worker at the family-run business.

“Oh, we had a big decline in business,” said Nicolette Wardzinski, whose mother owns the 5-year-old restaurant.

The realignment of the Brownsville and Broughton roads intersection cost $8.9 million and was completed two months ahead of schedule, Allegheny County officials said this week. The county's Public Works Department worked with PennDOT on the project.

Owners of businesses and homes near the intersection said the road project has improved traffic flow, but some retailers said their businesses suffered because orange traffic cones, barrels and construction signs closed parts of the roads, slowed traffic and spurred drivers to take detours.

“We avoided this whole area for a long time. It just took forever to get through,” Baldwin resident Patty Goller said Tuesday, during a stop at a Sunoco gas station in South Park near the intersection.

A realignment of the intersection, which is along a key path between the Route 88 and Route 51 areas, was planned for decades. The intersection is in South Park, Baldwin Borough and Pleasant Hills, near a border with Bethel Park.

In 1976, the intersection was deemed the “single worst intersection for green-cycle time,” because of the heavy congestion, among all intersections studied by the Allegheny County Planning Department that year, Steven Smallhoover, design project manager, said.

The project included upgrading five intersections with signals, turn lanes and more than a half-mile of roadway work. Signals are linked with computers that monitor traffic demands, and change the timing accordingly, Smallhoover said.

Work was done while two PennDOT projects — a bridge replacement on Curry Hollow Road in Pleasant Hills and an intersection improvement at Broughton and Baptist roads in Bethel Park —took place.

During construction, some customers bypassed Pape Flooring on Brownsville Road because they incorrectly believed barrels blocked the parking lot entrance, said Dan Villella, a sales consultant. The store has been at its Brownsville Road location since 1978.

“It was just an inconvenience,” he said.

Business returned to normal when crews removed traffic cones and barrels a few months ago. Now, “It's a better flow. … It's great now,” he said.

Tory N. Parrish is a Trib Total Media staff writer.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using 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.