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Route 910 bridge work in Indiana Twp. brings sense of dread to businesses

| Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013, 11:30 p.m.
Traffic on the Pennsylvania Turnpike (left) passes underneath the bridge on Route 910 in Indiana Township that will be replaced. Construction is scheduled to start next week. Eric Felack | Tribune-Review

Amy Hornyak's All About Kidz day care center in Indiana Township will open a half hour earlier and close a half hour later each day starting Monday.

“There are going to be major detours. No one knows how long they will take,” Hornyak said. “I have a lot of parents with questions about how long it will take to get here. I guess we'll see next week.”

Hers is one of many businesses expecting disruptions when the Pennsylvania Turnpike closes a section of Route 910 on Monday. The Turnpike Commission will replace the Gibsonia Road Bridge and Middle Road Bridge of the highway this year.

They are among six bridges — none of them structurally deficient — the Turnpike will replace between mile posts 40 and 48 over the next six years in a $200 million project to widen the road.

The work will lead to 20-minute detours for cars and 30-minute detours for trucks, according to the Turnpike Commission. The closures affect traffic between Route 28 on the east and Saxonburg Boulevard to the west.

“We anticipate having closures and detours over the next four to five years. This is the township's most traveled road and the one where most of the businesses are located,” said Dean Anderson, Indiana Township's manager.

About 8,200 vehicles use the road each day, PennDOT says.

Among the businesses Anderson said will be impacted are the Indianola Refinery, grocery wholesaler A.J. Silberman & Co., Allegheny Steel and the Bayer Corp.'s research and development office.

“Most of these companies are moving products in trucks all the time,” he said.

The detours will even affect the township itself.

“The township's public works department will be affected, especially at times of year when snow removal is needed. It will complicate road salting,” Anderson said.

West Deer's manager, Dan Mator, got complaints from trucking companies because the detour routes include roads with weight limits, which police plan to enforce.

The detours follow extensive work on 910 by PennDOT, which business owners such as Jim Grieco Sr., owner of Grieco's restaurant, said were nearly devastating.

“It's going to be awful. We lost 60 percent of our business when they closed the road on the weekends last year. We think this closed bridge will mean a 30 percent loss. People can get to us from the Route 28 side, but not from Hampton or Richland,” he said.

Turnpike spokesman Tom Fox said the project will widen the highway to three lanes in each direction with bigger medians and shoulders.

“The turnpike made a commitment 10 years ago that we would completely rebuild the road,” he said.

So far in Western Pennsylvania, the turnpike spent more than $500 million to expand the highway between miles 0 and 10, miles 31 to 38, the stretch from New Stanton to Irwin and to rebuild the Allegheny River Bridge. Projects have been approved to reconfigure the highway from Monroeville to the Allegheny River Bridge and from Monroeville to New Stanton.

The turnpike has kept two lanes running in areas under construction, Fox said.

Rick Wills is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7944 or at rwills@tribweb.com.

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