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Pennsylvania Turnpike Southern Beltway extension gets funding

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Billions to be spent on transportation


Total: $329 million, including:

• $79 million for Liberty Bridge rehab

• $22 million 10th Street Bridge rehab

• $15 million Greenfield Avenue Bridge rehab

Allegheny County

Total: $542 million, including:

• $71 million for road projects including Route 51 and Washington Road improvements

• $34 million for repairs of several county-owned bridges

• $17 million Elizabeth Bridge

Armstrong County

Total: $77 million, including:

• $31 million for Route 422 safety improvements and realignment in Kittanning Township

• $7.4 million for highway resurfacing of various roads

• $6.6 million for road realignment and bridge replacement along Route 28 in Boggs

Beaver County

Total: $244 million, including:

• $82 million for Freedom Road upgrades (three phases) in New Sewickley and Conway

• $10 million for Route 65 paving in Ambridge

• $8 million for Homewood viaduct bridge rehab in Homewood and Big Beaver

Butler County

Total: $84 million, including:

• $10 million for intersection reconstruction at Route 228 and Pittsburgh Street in Adams

• $7.5 million highway resurfacing, various roads

• $5.5 million for reconstruction of intersection at Route 228 and Saxonburg Boulevard in Clinton

Fayette County

Total: $110 million, including:

• $24.5 million for various bridge preservations

• $10 million for Route 119 improvements in Dunbar

• $6 million for improvements to Route 21 in South Union

Greene County

Total: $44 million, including:

• $11.4 million for resurfacing Route 18 in Center and Washington townships

• $5 million for realignment of the intersection at Route 21 and Bailey's Crossroads in Cumberland

• $4.1 million for resurfacing of Route 218 in Waynesburg and Franklin

Indiana County

Total: $132 million, including:

• $25 million for Route 119 improvements and bridge replacements in Rayne

• $21 million for Rose Street extension, a new two-lane road in Indiana

• $7 million for Route 56 improvements in East Wheatfield

Lawrence County

Total: $89 million, including:

• $11.4 million various road resurfacing projects

• $11 million for Mahoning viaduct bridge rehab in New Castle

• $6.6 million for various bridge rehabs

Washington County

Total: $124 million, including:

• $29 million for intersection improvements in North Strabane for Routes 519, 19 and 980

• $16.5 million for preservation of the bridge that carries Interstate 70 over Route 88 in Speers

• $7.8 million for Bavington Road Bridge rehab in Smith

Westmoreland County

Total: $220 million, including:

• $44 million for reconstruction of Route 119 in East Huntingdon

• $30.4 million for widening of Route 31 in Donegal

• $23.8 million for various intersection improvements along Route 356 in Allegheny

Source: Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission

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Monday, July 28, 2014, 7:51 p.m.

After years of hold-ups and debate, a $666 million project to extend the Pennsylvania Turnpike's Southern Beltway between Interstate 79 and Route 22 in Washington County received unanimous support on Monday from Western Pennsylvania's regional planning commission.

“We need to think bigger as a region. We need to be aspirational, or we'll get what we've always gotten,” said Steve Craig, chairman of the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission and a Lawrence County commissioner.

The turnpike project is part of a larger, $4.7 billion proposal to address Western Pennsylvania's transportation needs during the next four years, starting on Oct. 1. The Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission, a 10-county planning agency, unanimously approved it.

Increased state funding from Pennsylvania's new transportation law beefed up the SPC's four-year plan. Approved every two years, the plan adopted in 2012 was $3.1 billion, down from $3.6 billion in 2010 and $4.2 billion in 2012.

Building the Southern Beltway will become the turnpike's biggest single project, said Brad Heigel, the agency's chief engineer. Construction of the 19-mile section of highway is tentatively scheduled to begin in 2016 and end in 2019.

Heigel said it will “open up the Marcellus shale region,” providing a better link between the industry's drilling and corporate hotbed in Western Pennsylvania and Pittsburgh International Airport. Royal Dutch Shell is considering building a multibillion-dollar petrochemical plant north of the airport in Beaver County — a project that received another encouraging sign on Monday when the SPC approved adding a proposed Shell-funded road project to the four-year transportation plan in effect through Sept. 30.

The oil and gas giant is considering spending up to $90 million to relocate a portion of Route 18 and widen the highway near the would-be plant site in Center and Potter. Adding the project to the SPC's current transportation plan doesn't guarantee work will begin before Oct. 1, but work can't begin unless the project is included in the plan, officials said. Heigel said the Southern Beltway could open thousands of acres along the corridor for development.

“It will have a huge, positive impact on the Parkway West,” reducing congestion along the notoriously jammed-up highway, said PennDOT District 11 Executive Dan Cessna, whose district includes Allegheny, Beaver and Lawrence counties.

About 20,000 motorists a day are expected to use the new stretch of highway, Heigel said. The turnpike will decide by mid-2015 how it wants to proceed with the rest of the proposed Southern Beltway project, which originally called for extensions east of I-79 to the Mon-Fayette Expressway and the Parkway East.

The four-year plan adopted by the SPC sets aside about $2 billion for highway projects, $1.8 billion for transit, $586.7 million for interstate work and $359.3 million for the beltway.

Tom Fontaine is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

He can be reached at 412-320-7847 or

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