Photo courtesy of Jeffrey M. Vinocur. A planned 13-mile extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike in the southwestern corner of the state is back on the front burner, officials said last week.
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - A planned 13-mile extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike in the southwestern corner of the state is back on the front burner, officials said last week.
Chairman William Lieberman said the turnpike commission reactivated work on the final design for the next leg of the so-called Southern Beltway. It will run from U.S. Route 22 in eastern Washington County southeast into western Allegheny County and connect with Interstate 79 at the Washington-Allegheny County line.
Turnpike officials say the $632.5 million project had been stalled for lack of funding for several years, but that ended Friday.
“It will help ease congestion on arteries like the Parkway West, I-79 and U.S. Route 50” Lieberman said. “It will provide emergency-response vehicles, businesses and the public with a safer alternative to rural, two-lane roads.”
Construction is scheduled to start in 2014 and it’s scheduled to open around 2020. It will include a new bridge that will carry the new highway over U.S. Route 22 as part of the interchange linking the two roads.
The expressway will feature all-electronic tolling as part of the commission’s planned five-year conversion of turnpike tolling into a cashless system.
Lieberman says the expressway will be an economic boon for the region, creating more than 20,000 full- and part-time jobs and injecting nearly $2.7 billion into the economy.