May 12, 2014

Governor Corbett, Pennsylvania Turnpike, other Officials Break Ground on First Project Linking Pittsburgh International Airport to I-79

Southern Beltway to Create Jobs, Safety, Economic Impact in Pittsburgh Region
Bulger – More benefits from Pennsylvania's new transportation plan were announced today as Governor Tom Corbett was joined today by other state and local officials at a groundbreaking to mark the start of construction for two bridges that will carry the Southern Beltway (Turnpike Route 576) over Route 22.

This $14 million project is the first section of a $550 million project to connect the Southern Beltway from Route 22 in Bulger to I-79 near McDonald, PA, Allegheny County.

"When I signed the transportation plan, Act 89 into law last November, I made a commitment that construction projects to improve safety, create jobs and spur economic development would come quickly," Corbett said. "Today, as we break ground on this section of Pittsburgh's Southern Beltway, a project that has been stalled due to a lack of funding, I am delivering on that commitment."

Joining Corbett were Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) Chairman William K. Lieberman, PTC Commissioner Sean Logan, State Senator Timothy J. Solobay and other state and local officials.

"Today we are breaking ground on a bridge project and also breaking ground for safety, more jobs and we are marking the start of a vital business corridor between I-79 and Pittsburgh's International Airport, Corbett said. "The development of this highway between Route 22 and I-79 is expected to generate more than 12,000 good-paying jobs."

Chairman Lieberman said the PTC is able to advance the Route 22 to I-79 project thanks to Corbett's leadership on Act 89.

"Without the governor's leadership and the bipartisan support of the legislature, we would not be standing here today to commemorate the start of this undertaking which is so significant for the region's economic well-being," Lieberman said. "In the first five years after it opens, this highway is expected to generate nearly 5,000 industrial jobs, a welcome improvement for those who live and work in this area."

Mackin Engineering Co. of Pittsburgh is the bridge designer, and Mosites Construction Co. of Pittsburgh is the builder for the $14 million bridge contract. The design manager for the entire 13-mile Route 22 to I-79 project is Michael Baker Jr. Inc. of Pittsburgh, and the construction-management firm is CDR Maguire also of Pittsburgh.

"As a former mayor of Monroeville and state senator from this region, I have been a longtime supporter of this highway and am pleased that we are moving ahead," said PTC Commissioner Sean Logan. 

Construction on both bridges is expected to be completed by the spring of 2015. The PTC expects to award 10 construction contracts to complete the 22 to 79 project. The entire, 13-mile, four-lane highway is expected to be completed and opened to traffic in the fall of 2019.

The PTC's Southern Beltway consists of three sections, totaling a proposed 30-mile, tolled highway. The route is located between Interstate 376 near the Pittsburgh International Airport and the Mon/Fayette Expressway (Turnpike 43) near Finleyville, Pa. The three beltway sections include:

  • I-376 to Route 22 (knows as the Finely Connector, this section was completed in October, 2006);
  • Route 22 to I-79; and
  • I-79 to the Mon/Fayette Expressway.

With the completion of the remainder of the Route 22 to I-79 project, the beltway will be extended to 19 total miles, connecting I-79 to I-376 at the Pittsburgh International Airport. This effort is expected to double traffic on the Findlay Connector and ease congestion on I-79, the Parkway West (I-376), Route 22 and Pa. Route 50.

The third and final Southern Beltway portion would link I-79 to the Mon-Fayette Expressway near Finleyville. An alignment and timeframe for the last 12.5-mile, $750 million project has not been finalized. The PTC will proceed with design, right-of-way acquisition and construction as funding becomes available.

Media contact:    
Steve Chizmar, Governor's Office, 717-783-1116
Renee Vid Colborn, PA Turnpike, 717-831-7507 or 717-645-3502
Lisa Yackovich, PA Turnpike, 724-755-5261 or 412-580-8780