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Project will widen turnpike between Irwin, Monroeville

| Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013, 9:01 p.m.

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission plans to replace several bridges that carry traffic over the toll road in the next few years as part of a project to expand a 10-mile stretch of the turnpike from Monroeville to the Irwin interchange.

The plan, which comes with a price tag of $200 million to $225 million, includes adding a third travel lane on each side of the turnpike.

At a meeting for municipal officials last week, project manager William Siess said the project requires crews to raise bridges along Harvison Road in Penn Township and Trafford Road in Murrysville; 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.

“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.”

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

In the case of Harvison Road, the bridge will be replaced, Penn Township officials said.

“We asked them point blank would Harvison be eliminated, and they said no,” Penn Township manager Bruce Light said. Gary Graham, the bridge-engineering manager for the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, said the project is in its preliminary phase, with engineers developing plans to replace the entire roadway, in addition to the expansion and bridge work.

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

Turnpike senior engineer and project manager Mark Raup said he expects bridge work to begin in 2016 or 2017.

Staff Chris Foreman contributed to this article.

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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