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4-year road projects blueprint approved

| Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2006

The Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission on Monday unanimously approved spending more than $1.6 billion for road and bridge projects across the region over the next four years.

The commission approved the 2007-2010 Transportation Improvement Program, used to budget state and federal transportation dollars for highway projects in the 10-county region that includes Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, Washington and Westmoreland.

The commission, based Downtown, updates the program every two years and makes it available online at its Web site, www.spcregion.org .

The program serves as a highway blueprint for agencies such as PennDOT, and city and county governments responsible for maintaining roads and bridges.

Notable projects include:

• Liberty Tunnel, Downtown: Nearly $16 million of a $42 million rehabilitation. PennDOT must find the remaining money in future updates of the transportation plan.

• Freedom Road, New Sewickley, Beaver County: $3.25 million to buy rights-of-way.

• Route 22, Westmoreland County: More than $92 million for ongoing reconstruction.

• Interstate 79, Washington County: $19 million to build ramps at the Meadowlands interchange.

Allegheny County would receive nearly $550 million for projects on the plan. Pittsburgh would receive more than $176 million.

The commission also adopted an update to its long-range 2030 Transportation and Development Plan.

The plan was on display in each county in June and July, and officials encourage people to comment, particularly during a series of meetings held in each county. Comments were received through July 27.

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