PennDOT clears the way for Route 366 motorists

The major roadwork and paving is complete on the Bull Creek Road section of Route 366 in Tarentum, shown on Dec. 3, 2012.
The major roadwork and paving is complete on the Bull Creek Road section of Route 366 in Tarentum, shown on Dec. 3, 2012.
Photo by Eric Felack | Valley News Dispatch
Mary Ann Thomas
| Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012, 1:07 a.m.

For the 22,000 motorists who drive Route 366 daily near the Tarentum Bridge, this is an especially blessed time of year: PennDOT will lift all lane restrictions by late Thursday afternoon to wrap up the six-month road project for the season.

Still to come is the repaving of the Tarentum Bridge sometime next year.

The $7.7 million road project is to improve about 1.6 miles of Route 366 from the New Kensington side of the Tarentum Bridge to Bull Creek Road just beyond the Route 28 interchange in Fawn.

“Everybody is going to be happy,” said Tarentum Police Chief Bill Vakulick, who has had to respond every day to some traffic woe over the past six months.

“(On Monday,) West Seventh was backed up for three blocks,” he said. “It's been a mess for a while. I'll be glad to see it over with.”

The project, started in early June, saw a gaggle of restrictions such as periodic closures of Tarentum's Route 28 entrance and exit ramps, while much of the four-lane traffic on Route 366 was whittled down to one lane in each direction.

In the summer, motorists were peeved with the constant traffic snarls on the Tarentum Bridge or the streets leading to Route 366.

Then there was the added bonus of truck traffic to and from ATI Allegheny Ludlum's $1.1 billion hot strip mill under construction in Harrison.

Chief Vakulick credited PennDOT and its contractor, Golden Triangle Construction Co. of Imperial, for being easy to work with and responsive to complaints.

“They did what they could do, but there was just too much traffic,” he said.

According to Vakulick, some Tarentum businesses complained bitterly about the traffic.

But not all of them.

Gary Duster, one of the owners of Duster Funeral Home Inc. along East 10th Avenue in Tarentum said, “We had a few delays, but we never had to wait more than five to eight minutes.

“Now, the road will be much improved.”

PennDOT spokesman Jim Struzzi said, “We do appreciate the patience and cooperation of motorists.

“This was a major project on a busy corridor and these improvement were vital to transportation infrastructure of our region.”

The agency's contractor for the project will complete concrete island work Tuesday and Wednesday and some road sealing work, he said.

Mary Ann Thomas is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-226-4691 or mthomas@tribweb.com.

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