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 Agnell, (412) 925-5462                         February 6, 1998



The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission has circulated the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the proposed Southern Beltway Project between Pa. Route 60 in Findlay Township, Allegheny County and U.S. Route 22 in Robinson Township, Washington County.

The document, which identifies a preferred alternative for the six-mile tolled expressway, is available for public review February 6, 1998, through March 9, 1998, at numerous local municipal sites and other locations. March 9, 1998, will mark the close of the comment period for the FEIS.

Written comments should be sent to David P. Willis, Environmental Manager, Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, Central Office, P.O. Box 67676, Harrisburg, PA 17106-7676.

The preferred alignment for the expressway would run in a southwesterly direction from Pa. Route 60 (the Southern Expressway) at Pittsburgh International Airport to a terminus at U.S. Route 22 between the existing Bavington and Pa. Route 980 interchanges. Other interchanges are proposed at U.S. Route 30 southeast of Clinton and at the junction of Bald Knob Road and Ridge Road just north of the Washington County line.

U.S. Route 30 would be widened at the interchange to include a turning lane and, if necessary, a traffic signal.

Strip mined areas and landfills (Mazzaro Landfill and Browning-Ferris Industries' Imperial Landfill) are the predominant features within the corridor. The FEIS notes that approximately 75 percent of the area studied during the analysis of alternatives has been mined.

Among other findings in the FEIS:

* The Findlay Connector would allow approximately 6,500 vehicles per day (in design year 2020) to enter or exit Pittsburgh International Airport without using Pa. Route 60. Travel time to the airport will be substantially reduced for traffic coming from the west.

* Construction of the expressway likely would result in the displacement of seven free-standing, single-family residences and one commercial enterprise (Kramer's Greenhouse), all in Robinson Township, Washington County. Kramer's Greenhouse is located on 1.1 acres. Its primary business is the sale of bedding plants and ornamental shrubs.

* Eight acres of wetlands would be impacted by highway construction. The scope of mitigation involving the construction of replacement wetlands would be established during final design.

* The project would have no impacts on lakes, farm ponds, public parks and recreation areas. There are no high-quality or exceptional value waters, national natural landmarks, natural and wild areas and wildlife sanctuaries within the project area.

Locations where the FEIS will be available for review are:

- Findlay Township Building (Allegheny County) on U.S. Route 30, Clinton.

- Moon Township Building (Allegheny County) at 1000 Beaver Grade Road, Moon Township; and Moon Township Public Library at 1700 Beaver Grade Road, Moon Township.

- North Fayette Township Building (Allegheny County) at 400 North Branch Road, Oakdale; and Western Allegheny Community Library at 8042 Steubenville Pike, Oakdale.

- Hanover Township Building (Washington County) at 901 Steubenville Pike, Burgettstown; and Burgettstown Community Library at 2 Kerr Street, Burgettstown.

- Smith Township Building (Washington County) at 415 Joffre-Cherry Valley Road, Slovan.

- Independence Township Building (Beaver County) at 104 School Road, Aliquippa.

- Robinson Township Municipal Building (Washington County) at 8400 Noblestown Road, McDonald.

- Allegheny County Department of Economic Development at Suite 800, 425 Sixth Avenue, Pittsburgh.

- Washington County Planning Commission at Courthouse Square, Room 701, Washington.

- Carnegie Library for the Blind & Physically Handicapped at 4724 Baum Boulevard, Pittsburgh.

- U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Public Affairs Office at 1000 Liberty Avenue, Room 1801, Pittsburgh.

- U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Aviation Administration, Airport District Office, at 3911 Hartzdale Drive, Suite 1, Camp Hill.

- Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission Central Office at Route 283 & Eisenhower Boulevard, Highspire; and Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission Western Regional Office at 2200 North Center Avenue, New Stanton.

A Record of Decision from the Federal Highway Administration for the $150 million construction project is expected in Spring 1998. The Route 60-to-Route 22 Project is one of three independent transportation projects that would form a 30-mile beltway to improve mobility and encourage economic development in the circumferential corridor between Pittsburgh International Airport and the Mon/Fayette Expressway.

Expressway alternatives are being evaluated in the two other Southern Beltway project areas - from U.S. Route 22 to Interstate 79 and from I-79 to the Mon/Fayette Expressway. Environmental impact statements for those projects will be released for public review and comment at later dates.

The Pennsylvania General Assembly authorized the Turnpike Commission to develop the Southern Beltway in 1991.


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