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Meeting set to detail Route 51/88 work

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Wednesday, July 18, 2012, 12:48 p.m.

A project is moving forward to improve and repair an intersection that some South Hills officials are calling the "worst bottleneck on Route 51."

Increased efficiency, improved safety and reduced travel time are needed at the Route 51/Route 88 intersection, said Greg Jones, executive director of Economic Development South, a nonprofit working to improve business development in Baldwin, Brentwood and Whitehall boroughs and Pittsburgh neighborhoods of Carrick and Overbrook.

"It's providing suburban living with urban accessibility," Jones said.

A PennDOT project, undertaken as bridge repair work at the Route 51/Route 88 intersections, likely could achieve that, officials have said.

A public meeting will be held July 25 from 5 to 7 p.m. at St. Norbert's Church hall, 2413 St. Norbert St., Pittsburgh, where Pennsylvania Department of Transportation officials will present final design and project details and schedule information for the state Route 51/88 bridge and intersection improvement project, said spokesman Jim Struzzi. Plans and graphics will be on display.

"Essentially, it's updated plans," he said.

A brief presentation will be held at 5:30 p.m.

PennDOT officials unveiled the plans for a $14 million improvement project in the Overbrook section of Pittsburgh and Whitehall Borough nearly two years ago.

At the time, they said the project would include the replacement of six bridges and ultimately eliminate left turns from Route 51.

The estimated $15 to 20 million project is scheduled for construction in early 2013 and will take two years to complete.

The project also is set to improve travel time for vehicles at the intersection, officials have said, something that is welcome and wanted by local officials and residents alike.

"Even if it's just a few minutes off of your average commute, it's going to be a big thing," Jones said.

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