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PennDOT work to focus on routes 28 and 910

| Friday, Feb. 27, 2009

PennDOT could spend as much as $112 million on Allegheny County road projects this summer that will affect Alle-Kiski Valley area commuters.

In a town hall meeting Thursday in Heidelberg, PennDOT District 11 officials outlined about $369 million worth of construction projects scheduled for Allegheny County, compared with about $300 million spent last year.

Part of that is an increase in bridge work, which is going from $135 million in 2008 to $170 million this year.

Among the projects are seven sure to affect Valley motorists:

• Route 28 Etna Interchange, Phase 4: This $22.5 million project will include widening Route 28 from Etna to the Highland Park Bridge.

It involves upgrades to the highway, including bridge reconstruction.

Northbound Route 28 will be closed for extended periods over the summer. Motorists also should expect ramp closures.

• Route 28, southbound from Millvale to Etna: $2.3 million will be spent resurfacing the roadway.

Traffic restrictions will occur during off-peak hours, nights and weekends.

• Route 28, from the Creighton exit (Exit 13) to the Butler County line: Concrete patching in both directions will cost anywhere from $3 million to $10 million.

It will occur during off-peak hours, nights and weekends.

• Route 28, from East Ohio Street in Pittsburgh to the 40th Street Bridge: This work will prepare the stretch of highway for widening.

The $20 million to $60 million worth of work will include moving railroad tracks, demolishing buildings and improving alternate routes to handle traffic when the widening project begins.

• Route 28, Heinz wall repairs: Already under way, this $2.8 million project is between Chestnut Street and Heinz Street in Pittsburgh to reinforce the retaining wall along the northbound lanes.

Some ramp and lane closures will be necessary.

• Route 910 reconstruction: Will take place between Route 28 and Saxonburg Boulevard in Indiana and Harmar townships.

Between $10 million and $15 million will be spent to rebuild the road with drainage improvements and minor bridge repairs.

Detours and lane restrictions could occur.

• Route 910 resurfacing: Will take place between the Pennsylvania Turnpike bridge and Saxonburg Boulevard. Shoulder work and drainage improvements will be included. No cost was given for this project.

Although the total cost is nearly $70 million more than was spent last year on roads and bridges in Allegheny County, officials say they're still just keeping up with the need for repairs and replacements.

"If you haven't hit a detour or a lane restriction on a bridge yet, you will," said Dan Cessna, district executive. "There's a lot more work to be done."

Even though the budget for road construction has increased, Cessna said it has not been keeping up with need: With the district's aging bridges, inspectors seem to label one or two more as "structurally deficient" for every bridge that is repaired.

In addition, the district's maintenance budget has remained steady at about $126.2 million for the past 12 years, he said.

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