The Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission (SPC) has awarded nearly $9 million in grants that will serve as the final piece of funding for 16 transportation projects worth more than $110 million across the 10-county region.
Some of the money is for planning or feasibility studies, but the bulk of it will allow projects to begin construction, the commission said.
The SPC grants were awarded in two categories: $5.8 million for 10 projects under the Livability through Smart Transportation Program, and $3.186 million for six projects through the Transportation Alternatives Program.
The Livability program is designed to link transportation projects with other development work while the Alternatives program encourages bike and pedestrian lanes, trail expansion and access to public transit.
The most expensive project is 12 mi. of improvements to PA Rt. 981 in Westmoreland County at a cost of $51 million, including a $750,000 Livability grant. Known as the Laurel Valley Transportation Improvement Project, it will upgrade Rt. 981 from Rt. 819 in Mount Pleasant Township to Rt. 30 in Unity.
The first section of work will be from the Rt. 819 interchange to Norvelt. The grant will be utilized to widen shoulders to allow bike and pedestrian travel and improve connections with the regional trail system.
In Beaver County, a $14.5 million Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) project on Brodhead Road in Aliquippa will rehabilitate the surface and shoulders, install a new traffic signal at the intersection with Center Grange Road, and consider a left-turn lane between Pleasant Drive and the Northern Limit. The project received a $750,000 Livability grant.
A $492,000 Alternatives grant will help PennDOT complete a $12.6 million project to revamp the Jefferson Avenue interchange with Interstate 70 in Washington. That work will include new signals, sidewalk restoration and improving stormwater improvements.
In the South Side Flats of Pittsburgh, the city will use a $1 million Alternatives grant to help pay for a Complete Green Street Project at a cost of $5,852,000. In conjunction with the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy and the Pittsburgh Water & Sewer Authority, the city plans to create "a multifunctional urban greenway and transportation corridor" at South 21st Street. The project would handle more than four million gallons of stormwater each year; improve pedestrian safety; and beautify the area with trees and gardens.
The other Livability projects are:
- $10 million (with a $1 million grant from the SPC) for PennDOT to improve Rt. 88 in Charleroi, North Charleroi, Speers and Fallowfield with roadway reconstruction, sidewalk work and stormwater management,
- $6 million ($1 million grant) for PennDOT to replace sidewalks and staircases at the Glenwood Bridge in Hazelwood with ramps to bring the area into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The new facilities will connect with Rt. 837, Baldwin Road and Mifflin Road,
- $1.8 million ($575,000 grant) for PennDOT to widen the shoulder of Franklin Road in Cranberry from 4 to 5 ft. to accommodate bicyclists and pedestrians,
- $1 million ($800,000 grant) for Pittsburgh's Port Authority of Alleghany County to create the Mellon Terrace Multimodal Center, a transit terminal in the Highland Park neighborhood for Rts. 71A and 71B that now have layover locations,
- $450,000 ($200,000 grant) to help fund PennDOT's final design in White Township, Indiana County, of intersection improvements on Indian Springs Road near the Windy Ridge Business & Technology Park,
- $349,170 ($279,336 grant) for Butler County to complete the third and final phase of Butler's Main Street Streetscape Project to connect the Butler Transit Authority terminal with sidewalks, crosswalks, benches and bike racks,
- $312,500 ($250,000 grant) for Beaver County to study how to handle increased traffic on Brodhead Road in Center, Hopewell and Aliquippa as a result of the construction of the Shell petrochemical plant, and a
- $250,000 ($200,000 grant) for Armstrong County to develop a master plan for Freeport to become a hub for the regional trail network.
The remaining Transportation Alternatives projects receiving funding are:
- $6.6 million ($1 million grant) for the Port Authority to improve pedestrian access to South Hills Junction by reconfiguring stairways and ramps to improve access for people with disabilities,
- $413,405 ($350,000 grant) for Indiana County to improve the Hoodlebug Trail connector from a pedestrian underpass along Rt. 119 to Cornell Road,
- $358,123 ($284,445 grant) for Brackenridge to connect a half-mile trail along the Allegheny River from the on-road trail in Tarentum and to develop a trail and park in Harrison as part of the Three Rivers Heritage Trail, and a
- $60,000 grant for the Port Authority to install lockers for 20 bicycles at the Allegheny T station on the North Shore and at another location to be determined.