C O M M I S S I O N N E W S R E L E A S E
Joe Agnello, 724-755-5262, (724) 755-5142
March 21, 2002
LONGEST CONTINUOUS STRETCH OF GROWING MON/FAYETTE
EXPRESSWAY SYSTEM TO OPEN FRIDAY, APRIL 12
Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission will open at 3 pm Friday, April 12 the
Mon/Fayette Expressway north from Coyle Curtin Road near the City of
Monongahela in Washington County to Pa. Route 51 in Jefferson Hills Borough,
will create the longest continuous stretch of the growing Mon/Fayette
Expressway system (Turnpike 43) in southwestern Pennsylvania –
approximately 24 miles extending north from Pa. Route 88 in Centerville
Borough to the California Toll Road and northward beyond Interstate 70 into
the Mon/Fayette system is to measure some 70 miles north from Interstate 68
near Morgantown, W.Va., through the Uniontown and Brownsville areas and the
Monongahela River Valley to Interstate 376 in Pittsburgh and Monroeville.
Roughly half of the 70 miles, including about 10 miles built by the
Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PENNDOT), is completed.
13-mile piece to open on April 12 is part of the 17-mile Mon/Fayette
Expressway Project between Interstate 70 and the California Toll Road to
Route 51. The first four miles, north from I-70 to the Donora/Charleroi
interchange at Coyle Curtin Road, opened on May 11, 2001.
cutting ceremonies will be held at 11 am above Route 51, near the southern
end of dual bridges linking the expressway’s southbound on-ramp and
northbound off-ramp to a new Route 51 connector road known as Jefferson
Boulevard. The day’s events will have a military theme and will include
special recognition of 13 Medal of Honor recipients from the Mon/Fayette
corridor between Pittsburgh and the West Virginia border.
sign noting the Pennsylvania General Assembly’s naming of the Washington
County portion of the project for state Senator J. Barry Stout of
Bentleyville will be unveiled during a separate ceremony at 10 am along the
northbound lanes at the Coyle Curtin interchange (Exit 39). A military
convoy will then lead a procession north to the ribbon cutting sites in
Stout has served in the Pennsylvania Senate since June 1977 and remains a
key advocate of the Mon/Fayette Expressway and Southern Beltway projects as
the ranking Democrat on the Senate Transportation Committee. He played a
leading role in establishing the two streams of state funding - a share of
the Pennsylvania Oil Company Franchise Tax and a share of the
Commonwealth’s vehicle registration revenues - that have helped generate
some $1.4 billion for the Mon/Fayette and Southern Beltway projects.
open house “Community Day” on the new highway will be held from 11 am to
5 pm Sunday, April 7. Folks will be able to walk, bicycle and skate on the
road, or take free bus tours of the entire 13 miles that have not yet opened
Class I (two-axle) fare for the segment from I-70 to Coyle Curtin Road is 50
cents. A 50-cent fare also has been set for Class I traffic passing through
fare collection at either of the two other interchanges (Pa. Route 136,
signed as Monongahela/Eighty Four); and (Finleyville-Elrama Road, signed as
Finleyville/West Elizabeth) where fare collection will occur.
fares at the ramps are $1 for Class 2 (three axles), $1.50 for Class 3 (four
axles), $2 for Class 4 (five-axles) and $2.50 for Class 5 (six axles).
automated fare collection equipment will be utilized at all fare collection
points on the I-70 to Route 51 project. Equipment will accept $1 and $5
bills, coins, and PTC commercial cards, and will issue change and receipts.
the ramp plazas, fares will be collected only from motorists exiting the
northbound lanes or entering the southbound lanes.
that do not pass through fare collection at an interchange will pass through
a mainline toll plaza located approximately one mile south of the Route 51
interchange. The Class I fare there is $1. It’s $2 for Class 2, $3 for
Class 3, $4 for Class 4 and $5 for Class 5.
new fare schedule at the mainline toll plaza on the six-mile California Toll
Road, the oldest part of the Mon/Fayette system, will take effect at 3 pm
Friday, April 12.
1 fare will be 75 cents, up from 50 cents. Class 2 will be $1.50, up from
$1. Class 3 will be $2.25, up from $1.50. Class 4 will be $3, up from $2.
Class 5 will be $3.75, up from $2.50.
is the first adjustment of fares at the California mainline plaza since the
toll road opened on October 12, 1990. Fares are not collected on any of the
General Assembly has named five interchanges on the Mon/Fayette Expressway
system in honor of local servicemen who received Medals of Honor for
gallantry in combat.
Corporal Alfred L. Wilson, a
native of Fairchance, Fayette County, who will be recognized with signage at
Exit 8 (Big Six Road/Fairchance) at the northern terminus of the
expressway’s Mason Dixon Link south of Uniontown. Cpl. Wilson, an Army
medic during World War II, was mortally wounded in battle near Bezange la
Petite, France but refused evacuation and helped save the lives of at least
10 wounded comrades.
Colonel Mitchell Paige of Palm
Desert, CA, a native of Charleroi, Washington County, who will be recognized
with signage at Exit 39 near Mon City. Col. Paige was honored for heroism as
a Marine noncommissioned officer in the Solomon Islands during World War II.
When Japanese forces broke through the line directly in front of him during
combat on Oct. 26, 1942, Col. Paige continued to command a machine gun
section and direct fire until all of his men were killed or wounded. He held
off attackers until reinforcements arrived and then led a bayonet charge and
drove the enemy back.
Corps Sergeant Archibald Mathies from
Finleyville, Washington County, a
native Scot who will be recognized with signage at Exit 48
(Finleyville-Elrama Road) just south of the Allegheny County line. Sgt.
Mathies entered military service at Pittsburgh and was serving as engineer
and ball turret gunner on a bomber that was attacked by German fighter
planes on Feb. 20, 1944. With the pilot wounded and unconscious, the
co-pilot killed, the radio operator wounded and their plane severely
damaged, Sgt. Mathies and other crew members managed to right the plane and
fly it back. They refused to desert the wounded pilot but were killed when
the plane crashed on their third attempt at an emergency landing.
Captain Reginald Desiderio, a
Clairton native who will be recognized with signage at Exit 54 (Route 51).
Capt. Desiderio was honored for heroism near Ipsok, Korea on Nov. 27, 1950.
An infantry commander, he was twice wounded while his company was defending
a task force command post but he refused evacuation and continued to direct
his men. When the enemy broke through, Capt. Desiderio charged with a rifle,
carbine and grenades and inflicted many casualties until he was mortally
wounded. Spurred by his example, his company repelled the final attack.
Colonel Walter J. Marm, Jr. of
Fremont, NC, a Washington, PA native who will be recognized with signage at
Exit 36 at the junction of the Mon/Fayette Expressway and Interstate 70. A
platoon leader, he was wounded when storming a concealed machine gun near Ia
Drang Valley, Vietnam on Nov. 14, 1965, after deliberately drawing fire to
expose an enemy machine gun. When enemy fire continued, he charged 30 meters
across open ground and hurled grenades into the enemy position. Then, armed
with only a rifle, he continued the momentum of his assault and killed the
remainder of the enemy.
The legislature has named the dual bridges carrying the Mon/Fayette
Expressway over Mingo Creek and Pa. Route 88, the highest on the Turnpike
system at some 250 feet, for Ringgold High School graduate and National
Football League Hall-of-Famer Joe Montana. Montana played in the NFL from 1979 to 1994 and led the
San Francisco 49ers to four Super Bowl titles. The Notre Dame alumnus closed
his pro career with two seasons as a Kansas City Chief.
Total cost of the I-70-to-Route 51 Project will approximate $588
million. The sum includes construction costs of about $415 million.
P.O. Box 67676, Harrisburg, PA 17106-7676 Phone: (717) 939-9551 Fax: (717) 986-9649