Redesigned I-70 interchange in New Stanton to open for Thanksgiving commuters
PennDOT Assistant District Executive Rachel Duda used to avoid the New Stanton interchange along I-70.
"That's not the case any longer," Duda said at a news conference Tuesday announcing completion of the redesigned interchange.
The $53.7 million project will be fully open for Thanksgiving traffic, and PennDOT District 12 Executive Joe Szczur said it will be "the poster child for how to design projects moving forward."
"The I-70 corridor had seen its useful life, as far as the layout and interchanges," Szczur said. "We did some unique things on this project that we're going to continue using in other projects."
One unique aspect is the interchange's three roundabout intersections. Duda said project designers ultimately settled on the roundabouts because traffic lights would have led to long backups.
That wouldn't do for an area Szczur called "the neck of the hourglass" when it comes to commercial and commuter traffic in this part of the state.
Another new initiative was the formation of a "community partnering committee" that involved all stakeholders — project officials, contractors, local government, businesses and community members — from the very beginning stages.
"This was a special project, and it's going to serve as a model program for the state," Szczur said.
Westmoreland County Planning Director Jason Rigone said the project — one of 13 along I-70 totaling more than $600 million — will be transformative, particularly for New Stanton residents.
"This type of investing in our infrastructure is vital, and it comes around once in a generation," Rigone said. "It will change the face of the community, not just for the commercial companies that use the road but also for our residents."
Szczur said Joseph B. Fay Co. work crews on Tuesday afternoon were putting the final touches on the project, finishing nearly a year ahead of schedule.
"It's almost like a gift for Thanksgiving dinner," PennDOT Spokeswoman Valerie Petersen said.
Below, watch a PennDOT video detailing the workings of the roundabout intersections.
For more information about projects along the highway, see I-70projects.com .
Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-850-2862, email@example.com or via Twitter @MurrysvilleStar.