Carl DeFebo
Manager, Media and Public Relations


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Joe Agnello
724-755-5262
724-755-5142, Fax
E-Mail: jagnello@paturnpike.com

October 13, 2005

 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

SPRING CONSTRUCTION START EYED FOR MON/FAYETTE PROJECT BETWEEN UNIONTOWN AND BROWNSVILLE

 

Construction of the Mon/Fayette Expressway between Uniontown and Brownsville is expected to begin early next year and 9.2 miles of the 15.2-mile project, northwest from Uniontown to the U.S. Route 40 Brownsville stub, should be ready for traffic by early 2009.

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission today began formal advertising for contractors to submit bids by December 14 for the first construction contract. The contract will be for Construction Section 51C, which includes 2.4 miles of mainline and a diamond-shaped interchange between the villages of Searights and Keisterville in Menallen Township, Fayette County.

“We had pledged to advance this project to construction by early 2006 and we will be in position to fulfill that promise because of aggressive scheduling for the completion of final design and right-of-way clearance,” said Turnpike CEO Joe Brimmeier.

Section 51C is the first of five roadway construction contracts that will be advertised and bid between now and Summer 2006.

The five construction sections will create a little over nine miles of tolled expressway extending from Pa. Route 51 in North Union Township to a new Brownsville Connector road that will channel traffic onto the oldest part of the Mon/Fayette Expressway system in Centerville, Washington County via downtown Brownsville and the Route 40 Lane Bane Bridge.

“These five construction sections, which will complete 9.2 miles of the expressway, represent Phase 1 of the entire Mon/Fayette Uniontown-to-Brownsville Project,” Brimmeier explained.

He added, “We have approximately $200 million available for construction and we’re putting that money toward Phase 1 because that is the smartest use of those funds. Connecting expressway travelers to the Brownsville stub to establish a new viable transportation alternative is the most sensible way to sequence construction until funds are identified for Phase 2 construction.”

Brimmeier lauded the efforts of state Senator Richard A. Kasunic of Dunbar (District 32), a long-time expressway supporter who was instrumental in securing the Turnpike’s commitment of $200 million for construction.

“I am pleased to see the Turnpike Commission is moving forward on their commitment that the Uniontown-to-Brownsville link would be the next Expressway project to advance to construction,” Kasunic said.

The Senator added, “By improving highway access to our region, this link will boost economic development and job opportunities for Fayette County families. This modern four-lane highway will also significantly improve highway safety.”

Phase 2 of the Uniontown-to-Brownsville Project includes five more construction sections that will swing the expressway around Brownsville to the south and over the Monongahela River at Vesta No. 6 on a new bridge that will connect to the divided highway portion of Pa. Route 88. Route 88 connects to the Turnpike 43 California Toll Road that opened in October 1990.

Dan Frederick, the Turnpike’s Section Manager for 51C, praised the work of final design firm L. Robert Kimball & Associates of Ebensburg and Gannett Fleming, which is managing final design for the entire 15.2-mile Uniontown-to-Brownsville Project from its Pittsburgh office.

“The cooperation between our consultants and the cooperation and assistance we received from Menallen Township supervisors and Fayette County commissioners were paramount in the advancement of Section 51C to construction bidding,” said Frederick.

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