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PennDOT rolls out construction plans for Westmoreland

| Friday, April 5, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

PennDOT officials expect to wrap up several projects, including bridge upgrades, throughout Westmoreland County later this year.

“Everything we do is all about the infrastructure,” said District 12 Executive Joseph Szczur.

During its annual community outreach session on Thursday, district officials outlined current projects and future goals.

Several bridge updates are slated for completion this year, along with an intelligent transportation system that helps make drivers aware of road closures and weather advisories on a few district roadways.

Construction projects expected to be completed this year include:

• replacement of a bridge carrying Route 130 over Turtle Creek from Trafford to Allegheny County; 65 percent complete.

• replacement of Coal Street Bridge in Hempfield; 90 percent complete.

• addition of a turning lane and widening of Route 30 in Jeannette from the city to Toll Route 66; 26 percent complete.

• replacement of a bridge carrying Interstate 70 over Waltz Mill Road in Sewickley; 60 percent complete.

• replacement of a bridge that carries Route 286 over Route 66 in Washington Township; has not begun.

Funding has been decreasing over the past few years, said portfolio manager Gary Barber. Between 2013 and 2016, about $385 million will be available for transportation improvement projects.

“We're at about half of what we were getting in 2009,” Barber said.

With less money, the department has re-prioritized a funding split. Bridges used to receive about 70 percent of funding, with 30 percent going toward road improvements. In 2013, the funding will be split evenly between the two, Barber said.

In Westmoreland County, 24 percent of the 732 bridges are considered structurally deficient, he said.

Also expected to be completed this year is an intelligent transportation system. Message signs on major highways can alert drivers to incidents ahead or poor weather conditions, said Robb Dean, District 12 traffic manager.

“It's a construction project that you'll never drive over,” He said.

Projects being let out to bid in 2013 include:

• upgrades at the intersection of Harrison City-Export Road and Route 130 in Penn Township. A bridge will be replaced and the road widened, in addition to other improvements.

• replacement of a bridge carrying Beatty Road over a branch of Four Mile Run in Unity.

• replacement of a bridge carrying Baldridge Road over Loyalhanna Creek in Unity.

• replacement of a bridge carrying Old Airport Road over Slate Run in Hempfield.

• replacement of a structure that carries Route 366 over Route 56 in New Kensington.

• replacement of a structure carrying Route 2027 over a branch of Nine Mile Run in Unity.

• bridge maintenance; guide rail repair, replacement or updates; culvert preservation.

Upcoming “projects of significance” that are in the design phase:

• replacement of a bridge that carries Route 217 through Derry.

• pavement preservation along Route 837 in the Donora and Webster areas.

• removal of the Donora-Webster bridge.

• improvements of the New Stanton interchange along Interstate 70.

• reconstruction of the interchange at Interstate 70 and Route 31 in South Huntingdon.

Renatta Signorini is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-837-5374 or rsignorini@tribweb.com.

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