Turnpike work to affect Irwin interchange

| Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013, 3:54 p.m.

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission plans to replace and expand a 10-mile stretch of the turnpike from Monroeville to the Irwin interchange.

The plan, expected to cost $200 million to $225 million price tag, includes an additional lane on each side of the turnpike, as well as reconditioning and replacing several bridges crossing over it.

Gary Graham, the bridge-engineering manager for the commission, said the project is in its preliminary phases, with engineers developing plans to replace the roadway, in addition to the expansion and bridge work.

“We're going to reconstruct it from the bottom up,” Graham said.

In addition to the road and bridge work, Graham said officials plan to make improvements on the Irwin Interchange, which brings the turnpike traffic onto Route 30 in North Huntingdon.

As the project progresses, the commission plans to hold a series of public meetings in each of the communities, Graham said.

“We have to get the bridges done first, so they can accommodate the widening,” Graham said.

Turnpike senior engineer project manager Mark Raup said he expects bridge work to begin in 2016 or 2017 and the first five-mile phase to begin in 2018 or 2019. The commission expects to begin the final phase of the project in 2020 or 2021, he added.

Rosanne Rodgers, a senior project manager with Pittsburgh-based SAI Consulting Engineers, said the commission is beginning to send intent-to-enter letters to property owners along the turnpike. The commission sent the letters to approximately 500 residents outlining the project, she said.

Crews recently began conducting surveys and investigating properties potentially impacted by the project, Rodgers said.

“We hope to have the preliminary work and engineering done by the end of 2014 or early 2015,” Rodgers said. “But right now, our crews are going to be out there collecting data, and we hope to limit the impact.”

The commission is unsure of which properties it will need to purchase or acquire, Raup said.

Project manager William Siess said the project requires crews to raise bridges along Trafford Road in Murrysville and Harvison Road in Penn Township; lower and realign Abers Creek Road in Monroeville, which runs beneath the turnpike; repair the bridges over Pennsylvania Avenue and Route 30 in North Huntingdon; and replace bridges above Brush Hill Road and Route 993 in North Huntingdon.

Almost all of the bridges will need to be expanded to accommodate the widened lanes, Siess said.

“We need to coordinate the bridge work and possible closures with each of the municipalities,” Siess said. “But the majority of our work will be in Penn Township and North Huntingdon.”

Brad Pedersen is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8626, or bpedersen@tribweb.com.

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