Route 228/I-79 access improvement in Cranberry wrapping up

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The configuration of a road project identified by Cranberry as its single most significant project is beginning to take shape in a literal sense.

Construction of ramps and widening Route 228 near its junction with Route 19 is in the finishing stages.

Cranberry engineer Jason Kratsas said during the next couple of weeks, traffic signals will be shifted a couple hundred feet from their current location to a permanent spot closer to Route 19, reflecting the shifting of the off-ramp from southbound Interstate 79 to Route 228.

This relocation makes room for the next stage of the project — constructing a right-turn lane from westbound Route 228 to southbound I-79. The current left-turn from westbound Route 228 to southbound I-79 will be eliminated.

This section of the project will be finished in late spring or early summer, Mr. Kratsas said. When finished, a ramp will allow motorists traveling west on Route 228 to loop around to the Southbound I-79 ramp, similar to the existing loop movement from Eastbound Route 228 to Northbound I-79.

Then, finishing in late summer or early fall will be construction of a right-turn ramp from Westbound Route 228 to Northbound Interstate 79. Currently, a left-turn is needed. The new ramp will be a “straight ramp” as opposed to a loop. 

The project cost is about $14 million. As part of the work, Route 228 will be widened enough to accommodate all three left turn lanes from Cranberry Woods Drive near the Marriott hotel on the south side of Route 228. Also, Route 228 will be able to accommodate a free-flow right turn lane from Cranberry Springs Drive near Dick’s Sporting Goods on the north side of Route 228 to Westbound Route 228. Currently, traffic from Cranberry Springs Drive has to yield.

When completed, Route 228 will have been expanded from its current two westbound lanes and three eastbound lanes to four westbound lanes and three eastbound lanes. The project area extends about a mile east from Route 19 along Route 228.

Construction began a year ago under the direction of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

Mr. Kratsas said the project is so significant because it opens up a road that “has a traffic volume that rivals an interstate. ...We have a whole lot of traffic doing a lot of things [on Route 228]. With this project, we’ll take the left-turn movements out of the signal system and that will result in a significant time savings.”

He said left turning movements take 25 to 30 seconds during each one-and-a-half-minute signal cycle. “That’s taking 25 to 30 seconds away from people just trying to go east and west. When you take those left turns out of the cycle, you get a lot more movement on a really busy highway,’’ Mr. Kratsas said. “There’s no single project that’s more important in the township.”


Karen Kane: kkane@post-gazette.com or at 724-772-9180.

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