Five-year Route 28 improvement project at the midway point

| Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2012

New Kensington resident Patrick Perriello uses one word to describe his daily commute to and from Pittsburgh on Route 28: frustrating.

"I leave work around 5 (p.m.) and don't get home until 6:30 or 7," said the 24-year-old Perriello, who works in media marketing for Brunner Inc. in Pittsburgh's South Side.

In the morning, Perriello leaves his house by 8 to be on time by 9.

"It's slow in the morning, but at least it still moves," he said. "Going home, it's so frustrating because it seems to back up forever."

Perriello's story is the same for thousands of Alle-Kiski residents who battle traffic daily on the Valley's main artery into Pittsburgh as a long-term major construction project enters its midway point this year.

Perriello said the reduction of Route 28 to one lane by the former Heinz plant can leave folks sitting in long lines of stalled traffic during the evening rush hour.

PennDOT isn't going to make Periello's commute any easier. Road crews will begin work in April to maintain the bridge that is situated between Millvale (Exit 3) and Etna (Exit 4), according to a report released by PennDOT.

"The work will result in some lane closures," PennDOT spokesman Jim Struzzi said. "We won't have to shut the road down for any period of time."

PennDOT estimates the bridge preservation project will cost between $3 million and $4 million.

Added to the ongoing work being done to widen the road farther south, the bridge preservation will only worsen the headache that comes with a daily commute to and from Pittsburgh.

Perriello said that the stress of the daily commute has lead him to consider moving out of the Valley.

"I've thought about moving into town just to avoid it," he said. "But, I figure I've done it for this long, I might as well stick it out."

The end of construction is on the horizon for Perriello and other drivers.

Three of the four projects that will be active this summer are scheduled to be done by the end of this year, according to PennDOT.

Completion of the five-year, $120 million reconstruction of the road -- which will make it a four-lane expressway from Pittsburgh to Kittanning -- is scheduled to end in 2014.

Additional Information:

Temporary invonvenience

Here's a look at current and future construction projects on the Route 28 expressway and their cost.

• $36.5 million widening of the road southbound from the Pittsburgh city limits to Troy Hill Road. That's expected to be completed in 2014.

• $26.3 million widening of the road northbound between the 31st Street Bridge and the Millvale interchange (Exit 3), expected to be completed in July.

• Between $3 million and $4 million preservation of a bridge that spans the stretch of road between Millvale and Shaler. That is to begin in April and end approximately in December.

• $22.5 million relocation of train tracks and building demolition, expected be completed in May.

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