C O M M I S S I O N N E W S R E L E A S E
December 29, 2004
DRAFT EIS RELEASED, PUBLIC HEARING SET FOR SOUTHERN BELTWAY PROJECT FROM U.S. ROUTE 22 TO INTERSTATE 79
The Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the proposed Southern Beltway Project from U.S. Route 22 to Interstate 79 will be available for public review and comment for a 57-day period beginning Friday, Dec. 31, 2004.
The document, including a Clean Water Act Section 404 Permit Application, will be available for review December 31, 2004, through February 25, 2005, at local municipal offices and other public locations. The comment period for the DEIS will close at 4 pm Friday, Feb. 25.
The DEIS is a detailed evaluation of three alternatives (B-1, B-2 and B-3) for a new limited-access toll road that would extend the Southern Beltway system south and east from the southern end of the now-under-construction Findlay Connector at U.S. Route 22 in Robinson Township, Washington County to Interstate 79 at the border of Cecil Township, Washington County and South Fayette Township, Allegheny County.
A No-Build Alternative also is evaluated in the DEIS, which identifies the 12.9-mile B-2 Alternative as the Recommended Preferred Alternative for the project. However, a Preferred Alternative will not be determined until all comments on the DEIS are fully evaluated.
B-2 traverses Robinson Township, Cecil Township, and a small piece of Mount Pleasant Township in Washington County, and South Fayette Township in Allegheny County.
The three alternatives vary in the McDonald and Midway areas. B-1 passes McDonald to the northeast while B-2 bypasses McDonald to the southwest. B-3 also passes southwest of McDonald, and is closer to Midway.
In addition to the interchanges at U.S. Route 22 and I-79 at the termini for the project, there are three intermediate interchanges with each alternative.
B-2’s intermediate interchanges are at a relocated Beech Hollow Road, a new connector road between Pa. Route 980 and Fort Cherry Road, and at a relocated Cecil-Sturgeon Road that would provide access to Pa. Route 50 via a relocated Cecil-Reissing Road.
In part, the B-2 Alternative is identified as the Recommended Preferred Alternative because:
Construction costs for B-2 are estimated at $284 million, compared to $271 million for B-1 and $291 million for B-3. Eight businesses would be displaced with B-2, compared to seven with B-1 and nine for B-3.
Written comments on the DEIS should be sent to David P. Willis, Environmental Manager, Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, P.O. Box 67676, Harrisburg, PA 17106-7676. Written comments on the Clean Water Act Section 404 Permit Application should be submitted to Fred Pozzuto, Project Manager, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Regulatory Branch, 1000 Liberty Avenue, 1834 Federal Office Building, Pittsburgh, PA 15222.
C omments also can be presented in the form of oral or written testimony during a joint public hearing/open house on the DEIS to be held from 5 to 9 pm Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2005 at Canon-McMillan High School. Formal testimony can be given orally in public, orally in private with transcription by a stenographer, on tape, and in written form. No comments will be accepted by e-mail.
Formal presentations by the Turnpike Commission and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will begin at 6 pm and will be followed immediately by public oral testimony. Public oral testimony will be limited to five minutes per person. Written comments in support of public oral testimony can be presented.
Persons wishing to present public oral testimony should contact Lisa Yackovich prior to the hearing, by telephone at 724-755-5261 or by mail at the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, Western Regional Office, 2200 North Center Avenue, New Stanton, PA 15672-9602. Ms. Yackovich also should be contacted to arrange special accommodations for people with disabilities.
The DEIS can be purchased by mail in CD-ROM form for $5. Buyers should send a written request and check made payable to Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission to Susan Jones at the commission’s New Stanton address.
The technical files for the project are available for review at the Turnpike Commission’s Western Regional Office in New Stanton. Arrangements can be made by calling Roberta Rudolph at 724-755-5123.
After reviewing comments on the DEIS the Turnpike Commission, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration will prepare and circulate a Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for public review and comment.
P.O. Box 67676, Harrisburg, PA 17106-7676 Phone: (717) 939-9551 Fax: (717) 986-9649