Bridge, slide repairs top $200M in road work this construction season |
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Jeff Himler

PennDOT expects to spend more than $200 million to fix the region’s roads and bridges this construction season.

In addition to ongoing projects, PennDOT District 12 officials are slated to seek bids for $122 million in new construction projects, which will include resurfacing of 126 miles of highways and repairing or replacing 111 bridges.

In addition to Westmore­land County, the district includes Fayette, Washington and Greene counties.

Work that will require extra attention this year is managing slides that have been triggered by heavy rains and have affected roads in all four counties, according to District 12 Executive Joseph Szczur. The estimated repair cost runs to more than $4 million.

“We’ve been super-saturated for the last two years, and we have smaller and larger slides,” he said. “We have over 280 locations. We have yet to figure out exactly how we’re going to handle that.”

Westmoreland slide locations that are to receive priority because of their impact on traffic include Route 51 in Rostraver; Third Street in North Huntingdon; Guffey Road in North Huntingdon; Turner Valley Road in Sewickley and North Huntingdon; Lowber Road in Sewickley; Markle and Dutchman’s Run roads in Allegheny Township and Lower Burrell, respectively.

In Washington and West­moreland counties, work is set to continue on the multiyear effort to widen and improve interchanges along Interstate 70, which includes the reworking of several bridges and will depend on additional funds set aside for interstate improvements.

In Westmoreland, Route 31 is involved in two ongoing projects and a new one. A $19.8 million realignment and reconstruction of the highway in Donegal, near the Pennsylvania Turnpike, is expected to wrap up at the end of this year, according to William Kovach, PennDOT’s assistant district executive for construction.

Once the work is completed, he said, “Eastbound traffic will have a through movement,” instead of having to halt at a stop sign.

Also under way is improvement of the Route 31 interchange with I-70, a $67 million effort in South Huntingdon headed by Golden Triangle Construction that is set for completion in 2020. Some initial work, stabilizing mine voids with grouting, is complete, Kovach said.

“This year, we’ll see extensive work in the one direction (of I-70 traffic), and then it will move over to the other direction,” he said.

In addition to widening the interstate and improving the sight distance for two curves, the project will replace a bridge that carries the interstate over Route 31, which will gain a center turn lane between First Street and Fort Robinson Road. The Smithton Pike bridge over I-70 also is being replaced.

“That project is going to tie into the (I-70) Smithton project that was completed years ago,” Szczur said. “So that’s huge. That will set the stage for the next several projects we have ready to bid.

“It’s complicated when you’re trying to retrofit a modern highway into the corridor that’s in there now, and maintain traffic.”

A. Liberoni Inc. is the apparent low bidder for $1.86 million worth of resurfacing on Route 31 in Mt. Pleasant Borough and Mt. Pleasant and Bullskin townships.

Work planned in the northern part of Westmoreland County includes widening a portion of Route 356 from two to four lanes, including a truck climbing lane, and reducing curves as the road ascends away from the Allegheny River. That $15.4 million project by Plum Contracting is set for completion near the end of 2020.

PennDOT officials plan to seek bids later this month for replacing the Route 366 (Greensburg Road) bridge over Pucketa Creek in Lower Burrell.

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