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, (724) 755-5142 Fax
email:  tfox@paturnpike.com

March 6, 2003


The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) will host an open house public meeting from 5 to 9 pm Wednesday, March 12 at West Mifflin High School to present its preliminary evaluation of a multi-modal transportation concept submitted by Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future (PennFuture).

Invitation letters and fliers announcing the public meeting have been sent to federal, state and local officials, environmental resource agencies, PennFuture, and appropriate community groups. In addition, block ads have been placed in local newspapers.

PennFuture submitted the concept last September during the official comment period for the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) prepared for the proposed Mon/Fayette Expressway Project from Pa. Route 51 to Interstate 376. The PennFuture concept was presented as an option to alternatives already being considered for the Mon/Fayette project.

Since September, the PTC, in close coordination with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PENNDOT), has been evaluating the PennFuture concept in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and other applicable regulations and policies.

The purpose of the open house is to present preliminary findings about the PennFuture concept and obtain public input. The PTC, PENNDOT and FHWA are encouraging the public to attend on March 12 and to comment on the PennFuture concept.

The preliminary findings are based on an evaluation of the PennFuture concept in terms of its ability to meet identified project needs, estimated displacements that would result from the acquisition of required right-of-way, and estimated costs.

Following the public meeting, input received will be considered and the evaluation will be completed. The PTC, together with PENNDOT and FHWA, will then determine the next steps to be taken in compliance with the NEPA.  Results of the evaluation will be made public, most likely before Summer 2003. 

The multi-modal concept presented by PennFuture includes upgrading existing highways to urban boulevards, constructing new urban boulevards, constructing a new transit route and extending existing transit routes and trails.  It proposes a 62-mile network of urban boulevards within the Mon Valley.

The PennFuture concept would rebuild 52 miles of the existing network of roadways, including:

·        Pa. Route 51 – from the Turnpike 43/Pa. Route 51 Interchange to the Liberty Tunnels

·        Pa. Route 837 – from Pa. Route 51 to the south side of Pittsburgh

·        Pa. Route 885 – from Lebanon Church Road to Bates Street in Pittsburgh

·        Pa. Route 148 - from McKeesport to East McKeesport

·        Pa. Route 48 – from Pa. Route 130 to U.S. Route 22

·        Pa. Route 130 – from Turtle Creek to Pa. Route 48

In addition, the concept proposes another 10 miles of new boulevards be built on new right-of-way. These boulevards are proposed as four-lane, controlled-access facilities, some of which would include transit facilities, trails and parallel access roads within their right-of-way.

The PennFuture concept also proposes construction of a new transit line from downtown Pittsburgh through Oakland and Hazelwood to Homestead and, ultimately, to Braddock. It also proposes the extension of two other transit routes – the East Busway from Rankin through Braddock and Turtle Creek to Monroeville, and the South Hills light rail system to Century III Mall and on to the Turnpike 43 interchange.

The rebuilding of the existing highway network and the construction of new boulevards and transit lines would affect many properties that front onto these new or widened transportation corridors.

The proposals in the PennFuture concept may involve impacts to the following municipalities: City of Pittsburgh, Baldwin, Bethel Park, Braddock, Brentwood, Clairton, Dravosburg, Duquesne, East McKeesport, East Pittsburgh, Glassport, Homestead, Jefferson Hills, McKeesport, Monroeville, Munhall, North Braddock, North Versailles, Penn Hills, Pitcairn, Pleasant Hills, Rankin, Swissvale, Turtle Creek, West Homestead, West Mifflin, Wilkins, Whitaker, White Oak and Wilmerding.

The DEIS for the Mon/Fayette Pa. Route 51-to-I-376 Project was circulated for public review and comment from May 31 through September 9, 2002. During that period, four open house plans displays were held to answer questions and help the public locate information contained in the DEIS and three public hearings were held to record official testimony.  Written comments on the DEIS were accepted throughout the comment period.

In accordance with the NEPA and its associated implementing regulations, the PTC, together with the PENNDOT and the FHWA, have been reviewing and addressing all testimony/comments received during the official comment period.  Only after all DEIS comments have been addressed and disclosed in a Final EIS (FEIS), and comments on the FEIS have been fully considered, will a Record of Decision (ROD) identifying a Selected Alternative be issued by the FHWA.


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