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
February 3, 1998

Note to radio stations:
Voice actualities by PTC Assistant Public Involvement Manager
Joe Agnello are available by calling 1-800-563-5425


A Westmoreland County firm has been hired to provide signing for the Pennsylvania section of the Mon/Fayette Expressway's 12-mile Mason Dixon Link that will connect Pa. Route 43 in Georges Township, Fayette County and Interstate 68 in Monongalia County, West Virginia.

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission today awarded Green Acres Contracting Company of Scottdale a $730,502 contract for the work, which will include the installation of 18 emergency call boxes along the expressway. Call boxes, located at one-mile intervals on all Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission highways, allow motorists to report problems such as vehicle breakdowns and accidents to the Turnpike Communications Center.

Bids for the signing contract were opened on January 7, 1998. Green Acres Contracting, the lowest of four bidders, will handle signing and call box installation for 9.2 miles of the Mon/Fayette Expressway in Fayette County. The 9.2 miles includes a 1.5-mile stretch of the existing Mon/Fayette Expressway in the Uniontown area (the 3.5-mile Pa. Route 43, also known as the Chadville Demonstration Project, that opened in 1992).

Pennsylvania's 7.8-mile leg of the Mon/Fayette Expressway's Mason-Dixon Link is targeted for completion in late 1999. West Virginia will build the portion of the Mason Dixon Link south of the Pennsylvania line, including the interchange with I-68. Turnpike Commission officials are hopeful the West Virginia leg also will be opened in late 1999.

The signing to be provided by Green Acres Contracting includes route identification, speed limit postings, advance notice of interchanges, exit ramp identification and notification of toll collection facilities. The contract also includes the provision of signing on various side roads to inform motorists of upcoming access to the Mon/Fayette Expressway and the location of entrance ramps.

Today's action marks the Turnpike Commission's first award of a Mon/Fayette Expressway construction contract in 1998. The commission awarded some $174 million in Mon/Fayette construction contracts between June 3, 1997, and the end of the calendar year.

The award to Green Acres Contracting boosts to over $85.1 million the amount of construction contracts awarded for the Mason Dixon Link and to some $189.2 million the amount of Mon/Fayette Expressway construction contracts awarded to date. The $189.2 million includes $104.1 million worth of contracts for Mon/Fayette Expressway construction in Washington County. That work is part of the 17-mile Mon/Fayette Expressway project that will link Interstate 70/Turnpike 43 in Fallowfield Township, Washington County with Pa. Route 51 in Jefferson Borough, Allegheny County.

Construction contracts to complete those 17 miles as well as the Pennsylvania leg of the Mason Dixon Link are estimated at $290 million. Turnpike officials expect that all construction contracts necessary to complete both projects will be awarded over the next 18 months. The only contract remaining to complete the Mason Dixon Link involves construction of a mainline toll plaza near Haydentown.

Environmental impact studies and preliminary engineering are continuing for two other Mon/Fayette Expressway projects. The corridors where preferred alignments have not yet been identified are between Uniontown and the Brownsville area and between Jefferson and Pittsburgh.


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