Penn Pike opens more of Mon Fayette Expressway
By Peter Samuel
Despite severe winter weather - where's that "global warming" they promised us? - the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission opened a new piece of the Mon Fayette Expressway (MFE, PA43) near Uniontown PA south of Pittsburgh Monday morning. The $72m segment consisted of an urban interchange with the US119 expressway in the northern edge of the town and about 1.1 miles (1750m) of expressway linking in to a rural stretch of the MFE heading north toward Brownsville, and Pittsburgh.
Construction of the newly opened interchange began in June 2008 and required building five new bridges and rehabbing two existing bridges over US119:
- two single-span steel girder bridges, 190ft long and 30ft high
- a three-span, continuous steel, multigirder bridge, 440ft long and 56ft high
- an eight-span, curved steel girder bridge, 1,164ft long, and 30ft high
-10-span, steel, curved-girder bridge, 1,688 feet long and 30 feet high
- rehab of two, three-span, steel girder bridges, 240ft long and 30ft high
Construction was by Walsh of Canonsburg PA, engineering work by HDR.
Ramp tolls also opened
Also opening this week were a pair of 3- lane ramp toll plazas for traffic exiting or entering at Old Pittsburgh Rd, Exit 15 on south-facing ramps located just north of the construction that opened.
Each consists of an E-ZPass transponder-only lane and two cash lanes with a toll booth for staffed toll collection or payment by an automatic toll payment machine (bills, coins or a credit/bank card). Tolls for cars at Interchange M15 as it is called are 67c with an E-ZPass and 80c cash.
Still to build
Work is under way on another 8.5 miles, 13.7km of expressway with a large new bridge over the Monongahela River bypassing Brownsville to the west picking up PA88 for a distance and connecting to an established California section of the MFE PA43 north of Brownsville.
The whole 17 miles, 27km of the Uniontown-Brownsville segment (pink in the map) is costing an estimated $880m (project cost). It will have five pairs of ramp toll plazas and one mainline toll plaza, and is due for completion in the summer of 2012.
Then sixty continuous miles, 100km of the Mon Fayette Expressway will be open to traffic between I-68 near Morgantown in West Virginia and PA51 in Jefferson in the southern suburbs of Pittsburgh.
However the potentially busiest section of the MFE, the final Y-plan portion reaching nearly into downtown Pittsburgh to the northwest and to Monroeville to the northeast is on the shelf - all the planning permits obtained but unfinanceable - see red segment in map.