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,  fax (724) 755-5142
email:  jagnello@paturnpike.com

October 3, 2002


The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission will hold three open house public meetings this month to present for public review and comment its latest information on the proposed Southern Beltway Project between Interstate 79 at the Washington/Allegheny County line and the Mon/Fayette Expressway near Finleyville.

Anyone interested in the project may attend anytime between 4 and 8 pm on Tuesday, Oct. 8 at Cecil Township Municipal Building; Tuesday, Oct. 15 at Finley Middle School on Pa. Route 88 in Finleyville; and Thursday, Oct 17 at Canon-McMillan High School in Canonsburg.

The same information will be presented at each location. The Turnpike Commission has scheduled meetings at three different sites, and on different dates, to facilitate public involvement.

“This is an opportunity to see the detailed alternatives carried forward for further study after our last public meetings for this project in August 1999, and to see what properties may be affected,” said Thomas A. Fox, the Turnpike’s Public Involvement Manager. “We will show how these alternatives, and refinements we are considering in specific areas, compare to each other in terms of various impacts.”

After reviewing public input, Turnpike planners and consulting engineers will focus on preparation of a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) and the identification of a Recommended Preferred Alternative.  This process includes an ongoing dialog with state and federal resource agencies as well as local municipal officials.

Field studies, which began in March 2000, will continue. The Turnpike intends to circulate the DEIS for public review and comment in Summer 2003. Ultimately, the selection of an alignment for the limited-access toll road will be made by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). The target date for that action, known as a Record of Decision, is Summer 2004.

Alternatives under study for the project traverse parts of Cecil Township, Peters Township, Canonsburg Borough, North Strabane Township, Nottingham Township, and Union Township, all in Washington County.

Displays at the public meetings will include large-scale maps showing tentative right-of-way lines and proposed interchanges. The informal open-house format will allow citizens to examine mapping and other informational materials, and to question those manning the displays, at their leisure.

The Interstate 79-to-Mon/Fayette Expressway Project is one of three Southern Beltway projects being developed by the Turnpike Commission at the direction of the Pennsylvania General Assembly.

Each of the three projects is being designed with stand-alone utility to address local traffic needs but also would interconnect to form a beltway approximately 30 miles long, extending south and east from Pittsburgh International Airport to the mid-Monongahela River Valley.

The Findlay Connector, which would complete the first six miles (from the Pa. Route 60 Expressway at the airport to U.S. Route 22) of that quarter-circle, is on track to go to construction next year.

Circulation of a DEIS for the middle Southern Beltway Project, between Route 22 and Interstate 79, is scheduled for Spring 2003.

Total collective costs for the Southern Beltway are estimated at $896 million. The Turnpike’s current financial commitment totals $228 million – to complete the Findlay Connector by 2006 and to advance the two other projects through a Record of Decision.


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