C O M M I S S I O N N E W S R E L E A S E
Carl DeFebo (717) 939-9551, Ext. 2934
May 19, 2003
between Cranberry and Gateway will begin on Sunday June 1.
HARRISBURG, PA. (May 19, 2003) — The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission on June 1 will
unveil several fare-collection system upgrades along its westernmost
30-mile segment designed to improve fare-collection efficiency and result
in reduced congestion in this busy corridor. The “Western Toll
Improvement Project” consists of four elements that include:
opening of a new main-line toll plaza stretching across the highway at
elimination of tolls and toll tickets at three western Pa. interchanges;
modification of the Gateway plaza to a “cash-exchange” facility; and
conversion of all Turnpike exit numbers to a milepost-based system.
another significant step in improving the efficiency of the Turnpike’s
fare-collection system here in the greater Pittsburgh area,” said
Turnpike Executive Director Joe Brimmeier, pointing to the implementation
of E-ZPass as another efficiency-boosting measure. “The Western Toll
Improvement Project — along with the other regional initiatives such as
the Mon-Fayette Expressway and Southern Beltway projects — demonstrates
our commitment to enhancing the ground-transportation network in
One of the project’s key elements is the $23 million,
13-lane mainline toll plaza at milepost 30 in Marshall and Pine townships,
Allegheny County. The new facility, called Warrendale Toll Plaza, extends
across I-76 at the former site of the Butler Service Plaza, which was
closed last year to make way for the new toll plaza.
On Sunday, June 1, Warrendale’s opening date, the new
toll plaza will help improve the flow of traffic through this
fast-growing, congestion-prone corridor by eliminating tolls at three
interchanges. This is how it will work:
years of completing the study, design and construction phases, we’ve at
last come to the crucial moment when we’re ready to put down the shovels
and open the job,” said Brimmeier. “We’re thrilled to have reached
this point after lots of intense work. But the end result — a
streamlined western toll system and a safer, more efficient Pennsylvania
Turnpike — has been well worth the effort.”
Mosites Construction Co., Pittsburgh, is general
contractor for the Warrendale Plaza; J.B. Fay Co., Russellton, Pa., is
general contractor for the $18.2 million Gateway conversion as well as the
$1.2 million demolition of the Beaver Valley and New Castle facilities.
(Demolition of Cranberry is under a PENNDOT contract.)
Another vital aspect of this plan is the I-79/Turnpike
link known as the Cranberry Connector. When it opens in early 2004, the
Connector — a $44.3 million, joint PENNDOT/Turnpike venture — will
provide direct access between Interstate 79 and the Turnpike and improve
mobility in Cranberry Township, one of the fastest-growing areas in the
state. Dick Corp., Pittsburgh, is prime contactor for the Cranberry
“Western Pennsylvanians have waited many years for this
regionally significant project,” Brimmeier said of the Connector.
“Thanks to the cooperation of many state, federal and local agencies,
the Cranberry Connector — along with the enhancements to the
Turnpike’s fare-collection system — will soon become a reality.”
The Warrendale Plaza and the Cranberry Connector jointly
represent a $67 million expenditure on two key regional arteries. Add the
cost of the Gateway conversion and demolition of the two toll plazas, and
it equates an overall investment of $87 million in southwestern
Pennsylvania’s transportation infrastructure.
As June 1 approaches, construction near Cranberry and Gateway will intensify. Motorists are cautioned that sporadic single-lane closures will occur on this stretch through Sunday, June 1. In addition, the Turnpike will be closed from Cranberry to Butler Valley for two hours on June 1 at 5 a.m. All eastbound traffic will exit at Cranberry and reenter at Butler Valley, and all westbound traffic will exit at Butler Valley and reenter at Cranberry. During the closure, all motorists will receive detour cards upon exit. Visit www.paturnpike.com for details.
P.O. Box 67676, Harrisburg, PA 17106-7676 Phone: (717) 939-9551 Fax: (717) 986-9649