Kathy Liebler
                        Director of Public Information

   C   O   M   M   I   S   S   I   O   N                N   E   W   S             R   E   L   E   A   S   E

   Contact: Joe Agnello (412) 925-5462, (412) 925-5142 fax                September 3, 1996


        NEW CASTLE - A public ceremony to mark the formal designation of the Mahoning River Bridge on the Beaver Valley Expressway/James E. Ross Highway as the Thomas J. Fee Bridge will be held at 10 a.m. Friday, Sept. 6 near the north end of the span.
        Turnpike Commission Vice Chairman James J. Dodaro of White Oak will be the keynote speaker for the event. New Castle attorney Kathleen Fee-Baird, one of six children of the long-time state representative and current Lawrence County commissioner for whom the bridge is being named, will serve as master of ceremonies. Music by the Mohawk High School Band will open and close the program.
        Other speakers will include state Senator Tim Shaffer, state Senator Gerald J. LaValle and Lawrence County Common Pleas Judge Ralph Pratt, a former state legislator.
        Mr. Fee, a lifelong New Castle resident who began his public service career 30 years ago as a New Castle City councilman, served 13 consecutive two-year terms (through 1994) as the Ninth District's representative in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. He won election as a Lawrence County commissioner in November 1995.
        His support was critical to the planning, design and construction of the Turnpike's Route 60 toll road in Lawrence and Beaver counties. Its full opening on November 20, 1992 closed a 16-mile gap in divided highway, uninterrupted travel convenience between New Castle and Beaver Falls, and has enhanced opportunities for economic development throughout the 55- mile Route 60 corridor between Pittsburgh International Airport and Interstate 80 in the Sharon/Hermitage area.
        "It was my father's dream to complete Pennsylvania Route 60 and connect our community to the greater Pittsburgh area and other new markets," said Mrs. Baird.
        Pittsburgh International Airport, which opened in October 1992, is less than an hour's drive from the eastern edge of the Shenango Valley in southwest Mercer County. Turnpike 60 also provides quick, easy access to U.S. Route 422 and the Pennsylvania Turnpike mainline just south of the Lawrence-Beaver County border. Interstate 79 is only minutes away.
        Turnpike 60 is a $259 million investment in western Pennsylvania's highway infrastructure. No public tax dollars are involved.
        The $21 million Mahoning River Bridge was opened on November 1, 1991, along with a short stretch of the toll road between its northern terminus and the Mount Jackson/Pa. Route 108 interchange. The bridge is a deck plate girder span that carries the expressway 75 feet above the river valley just south of the toll road's northern terminus. At 1,700 feet, it is the fourth longest bridge on the Pennsylvania Turnpike system.
        The bridge was built with 4,600 tons of high-strength, low-maintenance weathering steel manufactured by Bethlehem Steel Corporation. Weathering steel reduces the number of piers needed to support a bridge, is highly adaptable to redecking, widening and other structural modifications, and does not require initial or maintenance painting.
        National Engineering and Contracting Company of Strongsville, Ohio was the general contractor. High Steel Structures of Lancaster was the steel fabricator. Middle States Steel Construction Company of Eighty Four erected the steel. The bridge was designed by URS Consultants of Akron, Ohio. Construction began in October 1989.
        The Association for Bridge Construction and Design named the span the "Outstanding New Bridge of 1991" in an award presented to the Turnpike Commission.
        The bridge dedication ceremony will be held in a grassy area off the southbound lanes just south of the southbound entrance ramp to Turnpike 60 from Pa. Route 60/U.S. Route 422. State police will provide traffic control and parking instructions. Regular traffic will not be affected.


         P.O. Box 67676, Harrisburg, PA 17106-7676         Phone: (717) 939-9551         Fax: (717) 986-9649