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Section of Pa. Turnpike to Undergo $200M Reconstruction

The total reconstruction and widening project is valued at approximately $200 million.

Tue April 07, 2015 - Northeast Edition
Brenda Ruggiero

A section involving 8 mi. (12.9 km) of the Pennsylvania Turnpike is currently undergoing a total reconstruction and widening valued at approximately $200 million.

The project involves the replacement of six overhead bridges and the widening of the existing turnpike mainline between the Butler Valley Interchange (Exit 39) and Allegheny Valley Interchange (Exit 48), in Allegheny County, Pa.

The project began in February 2013 and is expected to be completed in the fall of 2018.

According to the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC), more than 40,000 cars and trucks travel this stretch per day, making it one of the busiest parts of the turnpike in the region.

When complete, this project will tie directly into the three-lane Allegheny River Bridges — a project completed in October 2010 for approximately $194 million. The projects are part of the PTC’s commitment to completely rebuild the entire turnpike.

When the project is finalized, the existing four-lane facility, with 12-ft. (3.6 m) shoulders and a 10-ft. (3 m) median, will be upgraded to a six-lane facility (three 12-ft. travel lanes eastbound and three westbound) with a 26-ft. (7.9 m) median and 12-ft. shoulders. The new 26-ft. median will consist of two 12-ft.-wide inside shoulders and a 2-ft. (.6 m) wide concrete barrier. The project also will include the construction of storm water facilities, and the mitigation of impacted wetlands and streams.

Collectively, these roadway upgrades will result in substantial improvements to safety and congestion in addition to completely replacing aging pavement built in 1951.

So far, four bridges have been completed (Middle Road, two SR 910 Gibsonia Road bridges and Rich Hill Road). Work on the Saxonburg Blvd. Bridge is scheduled to begin shortly. Mainline construction started in the fall 2014 on milepost 48 to 44. The western portion of the Mainline project from milepost 44 to 40 will follow.

Hill International, Bethel Park, Pa., is the project manager under the direction of Steve Hrvoich, P.E.,Trumbull Corp., is the contractor for the Mainline reconstruction and the Saxonburg Blvd. Bridge, with John Nemmer serving as project manager.

According to the PTC, the main challenge with this project is the difficulty of maintaining four travel lanes while still providing the contractor the space needed to perform his operations.

Complete reconstruction will take place while still maintaining two lanes of travel in both directions. Due to extensive excavation and fill operations the footprint (width) of the PTC right-of-way essentially will not change.

The PTC noted that equipment to be used is largely dictated by the contractor’s means and methods he chooses to employ to execute the work, but large-scale excavators, dump trucks, and heavy-lift cranes will be expected on site.

Urban Engineers of Philadelphia, Pa., serves as design manager. Designers are URS, Pittsburgh; Markosky Engineering Group Inc., Ligonier, Pa.; and CECO Associates Inc., Scranton, Pa.

Other subcontractors include AGES, Canonsburg, Pa., for geo-technical and environmental; Monaloh Basin, Pittsburgh, for surveying; Gulisek Construction, LLC, Mt. Pleasant, Pa., for construction of the Middle Road overhead bridge; Joseph B. Fay Company, Pittsburgh, for construction of SR 910 east and the Rich Hill Road overhead bridge; and The Lane Construction Corporation, Pittsburgh, for construction of the SR 910 west overhead bridge.

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