The Armstrong County Commissioners and the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission have received funding to conduct a feasibility study for making the Route 28 expressway a limited access highway all the way to Interstate 80.
Officials have wanted to expand Route 28 from Kittanning in Armstrong to I-80 in Jefferson County for decades and to connect them directly.
They have received $250,000 from PennDOT to identify a list of short-, medium- and long-term projects.
Commissioners Pat Fabian, Jason Renshaw and George Skamai believe an improved transportation corridor from Kittanning to I-80 could improve the region’s economy.
“This could be a very big deal for Armstrong County — it could really open up the market here,” Renshaw said in a news release.
The expansion project has been the subject of discussion since the late 1970s or early 1980s, when the initial Route 28 expressway project was completed into East Franklin. It later was continued farther across the Allegheny River and around Kittanning. It presently runs into Rayburn Township. From there north to I-80, it alternates between being a two-lane road and one that has occasional climbing lanes.
“It’s good to see it back on the table for serious discussion and to have money dedicated toward exploring options for that corridor,” Skamai said in a press release.
The project would add roughly 35 miles to the Route 28 expressway, which runs from Pittsburgh to just beyond Kittanning.
The study is expected to begin by later summer.