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, (724) 755-5262, (724) 755-5142 fax

February 26, 1999



Most of Pa. Route 51 in Jefferson Hills, Allegheny County will be reduced from two lanes each direction to one lane each direction early next week for a Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission construction project.

Implementation of the new configuration will begin Monday morning, March 1. Route 51 will remain one lane each direction through November 14, 1999.

The Turnpike Commission will be widening some 2.3 miles of Route 51 by 14 feet to create a center lane for left turns and make the roadway more accommodative to traffic that will be moving on and off the new Mon/Fayette Expressway.

Related improvements will include the reconstruction or relocation of five intersections, work on significant portions of Lewis Run to reduce the incidence of flooding, removal of a hump south of the Blue Flame Restaurant that impedes sight lines and the construction or reconstruction of 13 structures such as box culverts, bridges and walls.

The project area extends north from the railroad crossing near Brickyard Road to point approximately 800 feet north of Coal Valley Road.

On or about November 15, 1999, and continuing through March 1, 2000, Route 51 will re-open to two lanes each direction. The highway again will be reduced to one lane each direction on or about March 1, 2000. All work is to conclude by November 17, 2000.

Dick Corporation of Jefferson Hills is the general contractor for the project at $17,963,115.

There may be brief, intermittent traffic stoppages throughout the life of the project. However, traffic will not be stopped for construction purposes between the hours of 6 and 8 AM and 4 and 6 PM.

No detours around the construction area will be posted because there are no ideal alternative routes. Generally, access to side roads and businesses will remain although there may be periods where certain movements on and off Route 51, particularly left turns, will be prohibited.

Temporary signals have been installed to allow movement on and off of Peters Creek Road, Old Clairton Road (the southern tie-in at Large), Payne Hill Road and Coal Valley Road. They will be activated as needed depending on which two lanes of Route 51 are open to traffic at any specific time.

However, the Old Clairton Road intersection in Large will be closed for up to four months, starting Monday, March 8, for placement of a new box culvert that will carry Old Clairton Road over Lewis Run. The new culvert will be 600 feet long and will have no weight limit.

During the closure of the Old Clairton Road intersection, non-truck traffic will be able to access Old Clairton Road via Lewis Run Road a short distance to the north. Northbound trucks intending to access Old Clairton Road will have to continue north on Route 51, through the construction area, to the northern tie-in with Old Clairton Road just south of the Pleasant Hills cloverleaf.

When Old Clairton Road reopens at Route 51 (sometime between mid-June and early July), Lewis Run Road will be closed permanently at its present tie-in on the west side of Route 51. A new stop sign intersection with Lewis Run Road will be created on the east side of Route 51 just south of the Star Lite Motel. Lewis Run Road will be discontinued as a public right-of-way to the south.

The three other intersections to be rebuilt as part of the project are:

  • Peters Creek Road/Dick Corporation access road. This will be made a four-way ("plus sign") intersection served by one traffic signal.
  • Wray Large Road, which will be extended to Route 51 and a stop-sign intersection.
  • Coal Valley Road No. 2, which provides access to South Hills Health Center east of Route 51. Coal Valley Road No. 2 will be widened to improve turning space and provide a left-turn lane for vehicles accessing Route 51 South. A new traffic signal will be installed.

Signs will advise drivers approaching the project area from either direction to maintain two lanes of traffic to the merge point. At the merge points, additional signs will advise motorists to "merge here, take your turn."

Daily construction updates will be available at the toll-free telephone number 1-800-806-2035 and at AM radio frequency 1610.

Construction updates and other information about the Route 51 rebuild will be available on the Turnpike Commission’s World Wide Web site - www.paturnpike.com., go to Construction/Expansion, then go to Rt. 51 Construction.

Port Authority of Allegheny County will maintain bus stops at Payne Hill Road, Large Volunteer Fire Department driveway/Lewis Run Road, Elliot Road and Coal Valley Road. When the reconstruction of the Old Clairton Road intersection is completed, it will replace Payne Hill Road as a Port Authority stop.

Because of lane width requirements, there will be no barriers between the traveling public and construction workers. The Turnpike Commission asks that drivers follow posted traffic instructions and extend courtesy to fellow motorists. Your patience and cooperation are appreciated. Our contractor will make every effort to minimize inconveniences.


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