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Parkway West improvements stifled by money

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Friday, Nov. 30, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

A study commissioned by PennDOT recommends major changes along the Parkway West to ease congestion, but the agency does not have money to do all the work, an official said on Thursday.

PennDOT plans to spend $40 million to $60 million on improvements between Interstate 79 in Robinson and the Fort Pitt Tunnel, with work starting in 2014 and lasting for two years, said Dan Cessna, chief engineer for the PennDOT district that includes Allegheny, Beaver and Lawrence counties.

Cessna said work will include pavement and bridge repairs, adjustments to acceleration and deceleration lanes in ramp areas, and replacement of median barriers, guardrails and signs.

The study by Moon-based Michael Baker Corp., completed in May for less than $1 million, also recommended major interchange improvements.

“We don't have funds to implement any major changes at any of the interchanges at this time,” Cessna said, adding the agency could improve the Green Tree and Carnegie interchanges in a second phase of work and the Banksville Road interchange in a third phase if money becomes available.

Cessna could not estimate how much that work would cost.

A separate study released last year by the Texas Transportation Institute, traffic data provider INRIX and The Weather Channel rated a three-mile section of the Parkway West between Carnegie and the Fort Pitt Tunnel as the nation's eighth-most-congested road.

Tom Fontaine is a staff writerfor Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7847 or

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