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Wolf Administration Announces 2021 Southwest Region Construction Season Wrap-up


Uniontown, PA –The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) Engineering District 12 which serves Fayette, Greene, Washington, and Westmoreland counties opened bids for 32 projects in 2021 in the amount of $122 million.

In addition to those projects, construction was under way for multiple-year projects that were started in prior years. Those projects include: Route 18 located in the City of Washington, Washington County including pavement improvements and signal and intersection upgrades with a value of $10.27 million; Route 356 Safety Improvements located in Allegheny Township, Westmoreland County with a value of $15.9 million; Route 119 roadway reconstruction located in Youngwood, Westmoreland County with a value of $24.2 million.

“I am pleased to highlight the continued progress that was made to our transportation system in the southwest region of the state. The improvements represent addressing the needs of the interstate, national highway, secondary, and local networks within our vital transportation system,” said Governor Tom Wolf. “It is critical to provide the funding needed to continue improving and maintaining the bridges and roadways in Pennsylvania.”

District 12 continues to upgrade and improve the interstate highways that move traffic through the southwest corner of Pennsylvania. Interstate 70 has been the focus of large-scale improvements over recent years in Washington and Westmoreland counties. Completed this year was I-70 at the Route 31 Interchange (Exits 51A/51B). This $67.4 million project was started in 2017 and completed in 2021. This project involved the complete reconstruction of the pavement and interchange, including upgrades to the acceleration and deceleration ramps, intersection with Route 31 and the replacement of the bridge that carries I70 over Route 31.

I-79 also saw improvements in 2021 which included the rehabilitation of a section of the interstate from milepost 23 to 30 in Amwell and South Strabane townships, Washington County. This project included concrete patching, milling, bituminous resurfacing, bridge preservation work, inlet replacement, signing and delineation on this 4-lane limited access roadway. The project also upgraded 46,339 linear feet of existing guiderail.

Construction continues on I-70 at the Yukon and Madison Interchanges. This $93.1 million project started in 2020 and is scheduled for completion in fall 2022. This project consists of the reconstruction and widening of I-70, full reconstruction of the Yukon (Exit 53) and Madison (Exit 54) interchanges, replacement of four mainline I-70 bridges, one mainline culvert, a culvert at the Yukon Eastbound on and off ramps and maintenance work on a structure on Route 3010.

Completed this year was a project on Route 519 in Washington County. This $26.8 million project which started in 2019 involved safety improvements to the intersections on Route 519 between I-79 and Route 19 along with the I-79 ramps at Route 519. The project added a turning lane on Route 519 from Route 980 to Interstate 79, two sets of signals at Route 519/Interstate 79 to control traffic at the on/off ramps, and Route 519 was realigned and moved 150’ to the East to eliminate a 4-way stop condition and replace with a new signal at the intersection of SR 980 and SR 19 Southbound Ramps.

Roadway damage from slides continue to be a challenge in southwest Pennsylvania, with more than 212 currently being monitored in the District 12. Slide repairs were completed at 11 locations district wide, such as the emergency closure of U.S. 40 in Wharton Township, Fayette County. The closure occurred on the evening of June 24 requiring a detour from Fayette County to Somerset County through Confluence. The slide was approximately 300 feet wide and 160 feet in elevation. As many as four pieces of equipment were operating on the hillside as a convoy of 10-12 trucks were loaded with material and transported to a local site. During the process 5,330 truckloads were transported to the dump site amounting to 58,630 cubic yards of material. Cost for the repairs was approximately $2 million. The roadway opened on Friday, August 13.

Bridges were also a large focus in 2021. Department-force bridge work is conducted by our maintenance personnel located in each county. PennDOT crews replaced three bridges in each county and performed high-priority maintenance repairs on many others. The department-force bridge team also completed three precast box culverts in Fayette County, three precast box culverts in Greene County, three precast box culverts in Washington County, and one precast box culvert in Westmoreland County. Several bridge preservation projects were also completed in 2021. A $2.27 million preservation project was completed involving structures district wide. In Westmoreland County a $3.1 million project involved bridge preservation activities, 3/8” thick epoxy-based surface treatment for bridge decks, deck repairs, replacement of neoprene compression and strip seals, on 18 bridge structures throughout the county. 

Additionally, these projects were completed in 2021:

Fayette County:
• Replacement/rehabilitation of two bridges carrying traffic on Route 1051 (Breakneck Road) over Butler Run and Spruce Run, $400,000.

Greene County:
• Improvements on the bridge carrying Route 3016 (McCracken Road) over Mudlick Fork in Allepo Township, $1.7 million;
• Bridge replacement/rehabilitation of the structure carrying Route 4006 (Maranda Run Road) over a branch of Maranda Run in Center Township, approximately $400,000; and
• Replacement of the structure carrying Route 4005 (Poland Run Road) over Polen Run in Richhill Township, approximately $400,000.

Washington County:
• Restoration of Route 1009 (Pike Street) over Chartiers Creek in Houston Borough, completed in September 2021 for $2.5 million. This bridge used Accelerate Bridge Construction techniques to greatly reduce the duration of the closure of the road.

Westmoreland County:
• Replacing nine existing traffic signals and upgrading an additional traffic signal at nine intersections along Route 981 and Ligonier Streets in the City of Latrobe. Completed in August 2021 for $3.4 million; and
• Route 906 reconstruction project in the City of Monessen and Rostraver Township, consisting of reconstructing the existing four-lane concrete section with full depth asphalt and milling and resurfacing of the existing two-lane asphalt section. The project also included guide rail upgrades, signing/pavement marking upgrades, drainage upgrades, washout repairs, curb gutter, mountable curb replacement, installation of shoulders to replace the existing sidewalks. The traffic signal at the Charleroi/Monessen Bridge was removed, and a new flashing intersection beacon installed at the Route 906/Riverview Drive intersection. $9.2 million.

Work that is anticipated to begin or be bid next year includes:

• Route 51 Interchange located in Rostraver Township, Westmoreland County. The project involves widening and reconstruction of Interstate 70 along with reconstruction of the Route 51 Interchange (Exit 46) to eliminate the substandard cloverleaf interchange and replace it with a Diverging Diamond Interchange;
• Route 711 Crawford Avenue Bridge located in the City of Connellsville, Fayette County. This project will replace the existing six-span steel superstructure with a new wider superstructure consisting of continuous composite steel plate girders;
• Route 1010 Valley Brook / Bebout Road Intersection located in Peters Township, Washington County. The project involves the construction of a roundabout at the intersection of Valley Brook Road (SR 1010) and Bebout Road (SR 1019) in Peters Township, Washington County, PA.  The existing three-way stop-controlled intersection will be replaced with a single-lane roundabout; and
• Route 19 and Route 188 Surface Improvement Project located in Greene County. This project will include milling, superpave asphalt courses, base repair, pavement markings, drainage, and other miscellaneous construction.
• The Laurel Valley Transportation Improvement Project will upgrade the Route 981 corridor from the intersection with Route 819 in Mount Pleasant Township to the intersection with U.S. 30 in Unity Township, Westmoreland County. The first project extends from Route 819 to Norvelt, was bid in July 2021, and the contractor received notice to proceed in September. This section primarily follows Route 981 with some offline shifts to improve the roadway. Traffic and safety data figured heavily in determining the preferred intersection treatments, which will include three roundabouts.

In addition to the many construction projects in District 12, our county maintenance crews working out of 30 stockpiles located in Fayette, Greene, Washington, and Westmoreland counties completed a variety of maintenance activities. These activities included sealcoating 433 miles of roadway, paving 113 miles of roadway, shoulder cutting of 1,362 miles of roadway, line painting of 7,015 line miles of roadway, and spent over 19,463 hours performing litter pick up. Additionally, crews replaced and updated signs, performed mowing operations, slide repairs, and pipe replacements.

Motorists can check conditions on major roadways by visiting 511PA, which is free and available 24 hours a day, provides traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, traffic speed information and access to more than 1,000 traffic cameras.