Kathy Liebler

Manager, Public Affairs & Media Relations

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

January 9, 2002


Commission Awards Contracts to Build Warrendale Toll Plaza

HARRISBURG, PA. The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) has awarded four construction contracts totaling $22.7 million to build a new, 13-lane mainline toll plaza at milepost 31 in Marshall and Pine townships, Allegheny County. The new facility, called Warrendale Toll Plaza, will help reduce congestion and improve traffic flow in the region.

The PTC received five general construction bids for the Warrendale project. The bids were opened in Harrisburg on Dec. 12 and reviewed to ensure all requirements were met. The Commission awarded a $21.7 million general construction contract to the lowest “responsive and responsible” bidder, Mosites Construction Co., Pittsburgh.

The commissioners also awarded three other related contracts totaling more than $1 million for the project. The qualified low bidders were awarded contracts as follows:

  • A $625,153 electrical contract to Bruce & Merilees Electric Co., New Castle;

  • A $282,900 heating, ventilating and air conditioning contract to MARC-Service Inc., Windber; and

  • A $96,325 plumbing contract to Vrabel Plumbing Co., Gibsonia.

The new toll plaza will stretch across I-76 by the Butler Service Plaza, which will be permanently closed March 30 to make way for construction. (Fuel service at Butler will be shut down on Feb. 12.) Construction on the Warrendale Toll Plaza will commence in mid February. Four lanes of traffic will be kept open on the Turnpike throughout the duration of the job.

“This project is another significant step in improving the efficiency of the Turnpike’s fare-collection system here in the greater Pittsburgh area,” said Turnpike Executive Director John Durbin, pointing to the recent implementation of E-ZPass, or electronic toll collection, as another efficiency-boosting measure. “The Warrendale facility, along with the other regional initiatives that are under way, demonstrates our commitment to enhancing the ground transportation network in southwestern Pennsylvania.”

The Warrendale project and the I-79/Turnpike Connector Project — a $44.3 million, joint PENNDOT/PTC venture — collectively represent a $67 million investment in southwestern Pennsylvania’s transportation infrastructure. Both are set to begin construction early in the spring. Dick Corp., Pittsburgh, is general contractor on the Connector, which is set for a fall 2004 completion.

In May 2003, the Warrendale Plaza’s anticipated opening date, the new toll facility will help to speed the flow of traffic through this fast-growing, congestion-prone corridor by eliminating tolls at the Turnpike’s three westernmost interchanges. This is how it will work:

  • Warrendale will become the western limit of the Turnpike’s ticket system. That is, all westbound motorists will stop, hand in their tickets and pay tolls, while eastbound motorists will stop to pick up their tickets.

  • The Gateway Plaza — the present western limit of the Pennsylvania Turnpike’s ticket system at the Ohio border — is being converted into a flat-fee, “ticketless” facility. Toll tickets will not be issued or collected at the revamped Gateway Plaza. Instead, both eastbound and westbound motorists will pay an as-yet-undetermined fixed rate (different for passenger and commercial vehicles).

  • Tolls will be eliminated — along with the tollbooths and offices themselves — at the three interchanges situated between Gateway and Warrendale, allowing for the free, unimpeded flow of traffic between New Castle, Beaver Valley and Cranberry. Motorists entering or exiting the Turnpike at 1A, 2 or 3 will not have to stop to get a ticket or pay toll until they have reached Warrendale (for eastbound drivers) or Gateway (for westbound drivers).

E-ZPass tag holders will be able to access E-ZPass lanes at the new Warrendale Plaza when it opens. E-ZPass customers will also be able to pay the Gateway flat rate electronically when the new arrangement takes effect in May 2003.

A bid opening (or let) is a significant event for a transportation project because it represents the transition from design phase to actual construction.

“After completing the study, preliminary design and final design phases, we’ve at last come to the crucial moment when we’re ready to put shovel to earth and start building,” said Durbin. “We’re all quite thrilled to have reached this point following lots of intense effort.

“Assuming everything goes smoothly during construction, we’re looking forward to opening Warrendale in May 2003; that’s when we’ll put this new plaza — and a streamlined western toll system — to work for a safer, more convenient Pennsylvania Turnpike.”


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