Two communities in a task force on reducing congestion at the Washington Pike/Route 50 interchange with Interstate 79 have begun committing funding for the project, and the state also has announced a related grant.
In a recent letter to PennDOT, South Fayette manager, Ryan Eggleston, and Bridgeville manager Lori Collins outlined the task force’s financial commitment. South Fayette will contribute $587,000, with Bridgeville committing $200,000.
The project, as outlined in conceptual drawings submitted by Gateway Engineers, would include lane expansions to the interchange, bridge, I-79 southbound ramp, and Chartiers Street.
“The financial commitment shows that there is a significant buy-in from communities. They are vested,” said Mr. Eggleston. The contributions also enable the communities to seek out grants that would match their commitment. “We are trying to flush out the funding and identify where it can come from,” said Mr. Eggleston.
Resources from South Fayette are partially derived from a traffic impact fee to which commercial and residential developers are required to contribute as part of property development.
“Some money will also come from the capital fund as outlined in the approved 2016 budget,” said Mr. Eggleston.
Additionally, the Newbury housing development will be providing private funding for the project. Bridgeville Realty Partners, LLC, has already contributed to improvements.
Mr. Eggleston called it a partnership between communities, private funding, and state funding.
PennDOT spokesperson Steve Cowan said, “The department has agreed to work with the municipalities and the developer on the design and construction of some of these improvements. We are still developing the cost, schedule and contribution from all parties.”
The multi-million-dollar project could be broken down in phases, and may start as early as later this year.
Other communities involved with the task force include Upper St. Clair and Collier.
Manager Sal Sirabella defined Collier’s part as a “support and information gathering role.” He does not anticipate the township will contribute funding because the Route 50/Washington Pike interchange is not an entry point for Collier residents.
“Exit 55 is our entry point,” he said. PennDOT is beginning to study expansion there as well. “That project is totally in Collier,” he said. Plans for that intersection are in the early stages with possible construction starting in 2019.
This week, PennDOT and state Rep. Jason Ortitay, R-Washington/Allegheny, announced that South Fayette will receive a $381,391 state grant to upgrade and install new traffic signals to reduce congestion.
The new signal technology to be installed at eight intersections along Route 50 and Washington Pike near I-79.
Amy Philips-Haller, freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org