Route 22 Widens Beyond ’Cozy Inn Cut-Off’

Wed December 14, 2005 - Northeast Edition
Jennifer Rupp

The Cozy Inn Restaurant has been a Murrysville landmark for more than 50 years, so long in fact, that the locals have named the short municipal road that connects old Route 22 (William Penn Highway) to new Route 22 the “Cozy Inn Cut-Off.”

This cut-off marks one end of the 4.1-mi. (6.6 km) reconstruction project on Route 22, which spans eastward to Route 66 in Delmont. The Westmoreland County project is just one section of many, as the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) continues the process of updating the entire Route 22 corridor to a four-lane highway.

Currently, 29,000 vehicles per day use the Delmont-to-Murrysville segment of Route 22.

“Right now it has three lanes: two regular lanes with occasional passing lanes on the inclines,” said PennDOT Project Manager Duane Moffat. “Traffic flows pretty well except for Friday afternoon back-ups. The widening to four lanes will alleviate the congestion.”

During construction, the highway has been reduced to two lanes.

The job began April 25, 2005, and is expected to be completed in October 2007. However, because work commenced a month later than the original start date of March 2005, the construction team has asked for a 216-day extension, which is currently being reviewed by the PennDOT District Office in Uniontown, PA. The start delay was due to a late notice from the PennDOT main office.

The $43.8-million project encompasses paving, widening and signal upgrades at each intersection. All intersections will have left turn lanes as well. A new signal is being put in at the Triangle Lane intersection, and extensions are being added to seven arch culverts.

Golden Triangle of Imperial, PA, won the bid for excavation, concrete paving and structural work. According to Jim Crowley, project manager of Golden Triangle, the company made a special equipment purchase for the rocky terrain along Route 22. The contractor bought a Caterpillar 385CL hydraulic excavator from Beckwith Machinery in Murrysville.

“The 385CL was selected primarily for an efficient pass match with the articulated dump trucks,” said John Gleason, marketing representative of Beckwith. “The ground engaging tools [GET] were chosen to accommodate the particularly rocky terrain.”

During excavation, workers will move out 1.4 million cu. yds. (1 million cu m) of dirt to make way for the new lanes.

“Right now we have about 30 workers onsite working 10-hour days, five days a week,” said Crowley.

When Golden Triangle gets to the paving segment of its contract, the company will use approximately 127,000 sq. yds. (106,188 sq m) of concrete with 12-in. (30.5 cm) depth.

The electrical work at the intersections is being done by subcontractor Bruce-Merrilees Electric Company of New Castle, PA. Other subcontractors include Derry Construction of Derry, PA, who won the bid package for bituminous asphalt paving for temporary lanes and side road tie-ins, and Rural Valley Construction of Rural Valley, PA, who is the drainage subcontractor on the project.

Moffat anticipates the expansion of the arch culverts to begin in winter 2005, which will bring with it detours for travelers on Route 22.

“Where there are pairs of culverts, one will close at a time, routing traffic through the open culvert until work is complete, then they will switch,” said Moffat.

Although this may cause temporary delays for motorists, the lane expansion will eliminate future congestion. CEG