Kathy Liebler

Manager, Public Affairs & Media Relations

C  O  M  M  I  S  S  I  O  N       N  E  W  S       R  E  L  E  A  S  E


Thomas A. Fox
(724) 755-5260, (724) 755-5142 fax
e-mail: tfox@paturnpike.com

December 9, 2004



Environmental clearance has been issued for the 24-mile project to extend the proposed

Mon/Fayette Expressway system north from PA Route 51 in Jefferson Hills to Interstate 376 in Pittsburgh and Monroeville.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) signed the Record of Decision for the estimated $2 billion project on December 7.

FHWA’s action formally designates the North Shore Alternative as the Selected Alternative and allows the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission to proceed with final design and right-of-way acquisition. Final design, which includes the drawing of right-of-way boundaries, is the detailed engineering necessary to advance the project to construction.

“This Record of Decision represents the successful culmination of 12 years of environmental studies and preliminary engineering to identify the best route for the Pittsburgh region’s long awaited Parkway South,” said Turnpike Chief Executive Officer Joe Brimmeier.

Brimmeier noted the Turnpike Commission already has secured consultants for each of 13 final design sections of the Expressway. Formal notices to proceed will be issued soon to the engineering firms. Two additional design contracts involving railroad relocations and toll facilities will be advertised.

HDR, Inc., an international engineering firm with an office in Pittsburgh, will oversee final design work as the Turnpike Commission’s design manager.

The Selected Alternative begins at Turnpike Route 43’s existing northern terminus in Jefferson Hills and traverses West Mifflin, Dravosburg and West Mifflin again to a new Monongahela River crossing from Duquesne into North Versailles.

The alignment then splits, with a northeastern leg linking with the Parkway East at Monroeville and a western leg on the north side of the Mon River connecting to the Parkway East at Bates Street to create a bypass of the Squirrel Hill Tunnel.

The Monroeville leg of the project passes through parts of East Pittsburgh, Turtle Creek, Wilkins and Penn Hills. The western link toward Pittsburgh traverses parts of North Braddock, Braddock, Swissvale and Rankin. City of Pittsburgh neighborhoods along the alignment include Duck Hollow, Hazelwood and South Oakland.

The Mon/Fayette Expressway from PA Route 51 to Interstate 376 is being developed to improve transportation access to economically depressed Mon Valley communities, improve mobility to job centers, support redevelopment of abandoned industrial sites and neighborhoods, and relieve traffic congestion on overburdened roadways in the study area.

Existing roadways on which traffic volumes generally would be reduced because of the project are PA Route 51, PA Route 837, PA Route 885, PA Route 148, U.S. Business Route 22 and Interstate 376 between its interchanges with the new expressway.

The eight-mile expressway from Jefferson Hills to Duquesne includes interchanges at Jefferson Boulevard (the PA Route 51 connector), at Camp Hollow Road and Richland Avenue in West Mifflin and Dravosburg and at PA Route 837 in Duquesne.

On the six-mile northeastern leg to Monroeville, interchanges are planned at East Pittsburgh-McKeesport Boulevard in North Versailles, Thompson Run Road and Old William Penn Highway in Penn Hills, U.S. Business Route 22 in Monroeville, and at I-376 in Monroeville.

The 10-mile western link toward downtown Pittsburgh includes interchanges at Sixth Street in Braddock, PA Route 885 at the north end of the Glenwood Bridge, I-376 near the Pittsburgh Technology Center and at Second Avenue/Bates Street near the Pittsburgh Technology Center.

As part of the project, the Hays interchange at the south end of the Glenwood Bridge will be reconfigured.

A Design Advisory Team (DAT) composed of representatives of the community and local governments will be established in five areas to help final designers refine and finalize solutions to issues raised during the environmental study phase.

DATs will be set up for Dravosburg, Turtle Creek, the Braddock-Rankin-Swissvale area, Nine Mile Run (including the City of Pittsburgh’s Duck Hollow neighborhood), and Glenwood Bridge-to-Bates Street (including City neighborhoods Hazelwood and South Oakland).

“The goal of the DATs is to help us design and build a highway that satisfies identified needs for the project and addresses concerns of the communities so that all stakeholders are proud of the final result,” said Frank J. Kempf, Jr., Assistant Chief Engineer for Development Projects/Programs.

Kempf added, “We will continue our dialog with environmental resource agencies, FHWA and PennDOT so that they can monitor the progress of final design and efforts to minimize impacts. And we will remain receptive to local municipal input.”

Approximately $300 million is committed to the project. In addition to the cost of environmental studies and preliminary engineering, funding has been committed to advance the project through final design and right-of-way acquisition.


 P.O. Box 67676, Harrisburg, PA 17106-7676         Phone: (717) 939-9551         Fax: (717) 986-9649