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


Joe Agnello (724) 755-5262, (724) 755-5142 fax
e-mail:  jagnello@paturnpike.com

June 20, 2002  


The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission has hired Greenhorne & O’Mara, Inc., a multidisciplinary consulting firm, to examine the storm water management system for the section of the Mon/Fayette Expressway just north of Interstate 70 near Charleroi in Washington County.

Flash flooding the afternoon of June 13 caused extensive damage to homes, businesses and other structures along a one-mile stretch of Old Route 71 adjacent to Maple Creek. Dual bridges nearly 200 feet high carry the expressway over this portion of the Maple Creek valley in Fallowfield Township.

Some residents in the area believe the presence of the expressway and the dual bridges contributed to the flooding, which occurred after two to three inches of rain fell during a three-hour period.

Representatives of the consulting firm will meet with Turnpike officials today on site to begin their work.  

Turnpike Executive Director John T. Durbin said, “We are concerned and extremely sorry about the damage and duress that area residents suffered because of recent flooding. We feel it is essential to obtain an expert, broadly researched environmental analysis of the occurrence and all the factors that could have contributed to the flooding.”

Durbin noted that state Senators J. Barry Stout and Richard A. Kasunic, as well as state Representative Peter J. Daley, have asked whether the expressway may have been a factor in the flash flooding.

Turnpike Commission Vice Chairman James J. Dodaro of White Oak, Allegheny County said, “It is important to us that residents of the mid-Mon Valley consider the Turnpike a good neighbor. We have asked for a thorough, objective review of the situation because we believe that is our responsibility to these communities. If we need to fix something, we will.” 

Greenhorne & O’Mara will assess the design and performance of the expressway’s drainage system in the area where flooding occurred, gather detailed information about weather conditions and the amount of rainfall that day and examine the slopes of the highway and other pertinent conditions along Maple Creek and Old Route 71.

Founded in 1950, the firm is headquartered in Greenbelt, MD and has 20 branch offices. The Turnpike Commission’s contact regarding the report will be the company’s office in Mechanicsburg, PA.

The part of the Mon/Fayette Expressway system (Turnpike 43) that spans Maple Creek and Old Route 71 (Maple Creek Road) opened on May 11, 2001.


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