Bridge work a priority for PennDOT in Westmoreland
State highway officials Thursday updated plans for improvements along highways in Westmoreland County but said the list of projects is longer than the supply of money.
Even with the $61.2 million that District 12 is expected to get from Act 89 — which will fund 12 highway and bridge projects in Westmoreland, Washington, Fayette and Greene counties — the local PennDOT district has 12 years' worth of road and bridge projects it wants to do in the four counties. This is in addition to whatever projects arise in the meantime, Joseph Szczur , executive of District 12, told about 50 local government officials and business representatives at a meeting at St. Vincent College in Unity.
“It's not going to happen overnight,” Szczur said.
Within District 12, Szczur said the extra money will fund repairs on 37 extra bridges, enabling the lifting of weight restrictions PennDOT placed on the structures last year. About 22 percent of the bridges within the four-county district are structurally deficient.
Forty miles of roadway improvement projects are planned for Westmoreland County at a cost of $13.5 million.
Act 89 generates money for the state by hiking fees for motorists.
The state's transportation improvement plan for 2015-2018 in the four-county district has a list of $485 million worth of projects, said Angela Saunders, planning and program manager for the PennDOT district. The funding includes about $185 million generated by Act 89.
Saunders said, however, that the previous transportation plan — 2013 to 2016 — projected $528 million worth of projects.
Among the projects on the drawing board are improvements to the Interstate 70 exit at New Stanton. PennDOT wants to move the exit 1,7000 feet westward of the existing interchange with a design to make the area safer, Rachel Duda, assistant district executive for design, said during the meeting.
The Derry Borough bridge carrying Route 217 over Norfolk Southern Corp.'s railroad tracks is number two on the risk assessment list, Duda said. The state intends to advertise for bids next February.
A section of Route 981 by the Arnold Palmer Regional Airport in Unity will be relocated to eliminate a hazardous intersection of three roads and to make an entrance for the airport's expansion, Duda said.
Throughout Westmoreland County, PennDOT maintenance crews will focus on pothole patching and sealing roads, said Tim Cook, PennDOT's maintenance manager for Westmoreland.
Because of severe winter weather, the road conditions “are the worst I've seen” in almost 20 years in roadway maintenance, Cook said.
Motorists will see crews sweeping the anti-skid material on bridges so it does not lead to deterioration and remove the rocks before painting lines on the roadways, Cook said.
Jason Rigone, executive director of the Westmore-land County Industrial Development Corp., said he was pleased with the planned road improvements in the county, and the extra money that PennDOT will receive will help do projects sooner.
But Rigone said he was disappointed that there has not been more progress on the proposed Laurel Valley Connector — a slip exit off the Pennsylvania Turnpike at Route 981 in Mt. Pleasant Township and improvements to Route 981 from the turnpike to the intersection of Route 30 at the Arnold Palmer Regional Airport.
“It's only been 40 years,” Rigone said, referring to discussion for the need for a quick connection between the airport and the turnpike.
Duda said there have been studies conducted on the proposed roadway.
“It's a huge project. It's definitely not forgotten,” Duda said.
Joe Napsha is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- H&M to open in Westmoreland Mall
- Greensburg still fighting waterlogged Lynch Field, may add drainage
- Witnesses recount Franklin Regional stabbing
- Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County, Youngwood discuss sewage system sale
- Youngwood officials defend rules for rentals
- Sounds of Christmas coming to Fay-West region
- Trio of concerts to mark Greensburg’s holiday season
- Westmoreland County, Mt. Pleasant Borough officials try to solve Willow parking issue
- Bill to name interchange for fallen Youngwood firefighter advances
- Westmoreland County Judge Regoli has 5 days to decide on whether he’ll ask for recount
- Salvation Army raises goals for Red Kettle campaigns in Westmoreland