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


Thomas A. Fox (724) 755-5260, fax (724) 755-5142
e-mail:  tfox@paturnpike.com

September 18, 2002



PITTSBURGH - Governor Mark Schweiker today urged the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission to move forward with construction of the six-mile, $204 million Findlay Connector extending south from the Pa. Route 60 Expressway at Pittsburgh International Airport to U.S. Route 22 in Robinson Township, Washington County.

Appearing in Findlay Township, Allegheny County at the future site of one of two interior interchanges, Gov. Schweiker said he is recommending that the Turnpike Commission earmark the $175 million necessary to complete the project.

Turnpike Commission Executive Director John T. Durbin said commissioners would move quickly to advance the project to construction.   

Until now, the Turnpike Commission’s funding commitment to the Findlay Connector ($29 million) was sufficient to advance the project through final design only.

Local municipal, county, state and federal officials gathered at the junction of Ridge Road and Bald Knob Road, just north of the Washington County line, for the governor’s announcement. Other speakers were Allegheny County Chief Executive Jim Roddey and State Senators J. Barry Stout, Tim Murphy and Jack Wagner.

The Commission’s goal is to open the limited-access toll road in 2005. The first of three roadway construction contracts is expected to be awarded in First Quarter 2003, and the other two by next summer. Right-of-way acquisition and the relocation of affected utilities must precede construction.

The primary funding source for the Mon/Fayette Expressway and Southern Beltway systems are Turnpike Commission bonds backed by two revenue streams established by the Pennsylvania General Assembly. The most recent bond issue, with debt to be paid out of the $28 million annually that the Turnpike receives from vehicle registration fees, was conducted in July 2001.

North to south, interchanges on the Findlay Connector will be built at the main entrance to Pittsburgh International Airport on Route 60; U.S. Route 30 southeast of Clinton; Bald Knob, Ridge and Burgettstown Roads, and at Route 22 between Route 22’s existing Pa. Route 980 (to the east) and Bavington (to the west) interchanges.

Direct access in and out of Pittsburgh International Airport will be provided at the north end of the project. The project also will result in the construction of two “missing” ramps at Route 60’s interchange with Clinton Road. Route 30 will be widened at its interchange with the Findlay Connector to include a turning lane.

Travel time to the airport will be reduced substantially for traffic originating near the stretch of Route 22 in Washington County and for traffic coming from the west, including the Weirton, W.Va. and Steubenville, Ohio areas.

Strip mined areas and landfills are the predominant features along the alignment for the Findlay Connector. Approximately 75 percent of the area studied during the analysis of prospective alignments has been mined.

The Findlay Connector is one of three independent projects under development by the Turnpike Commission that would interconnect to form a 30-mile Southern Beltway south and east from Pittsburgh International Airport to the Mon/Fayette Expressway in the mid-Mon Valley.

Each of the two other Southern Beltway projects – Route 22-to-Interstate 79 and  I-79 to the Mon/Fayette Expressway – is approximately 12 miles long. Both are in preliminary engineering/environmental study phases.


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