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PennDOT to unveil new Rt. 28 plans

By Joe Grata,
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Thursday, February 09, 2006

Forty-three years after the idea was broached, and at least as many meetings and plans later, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has yet another design for rebuilding the hazardous, traffic-clogged stretch of Route 28/East Ohio Street between the North Side and Millvale.

Engineers will reveal the latest proposal for the two-mile stretch at a series of three public meetings beginning Monday.

Until then, they’re keeping it a secret.

In response to a request for details, PennDOT District 11 spokesman Jim Struzzi responded, in part:

“Given the sensitive nature of the issues surrounding the project, we would rather people hear it from us in detail at the meeting(s) where immediate questions and concerns can be addressed.

“We will be presenting a new alternative that we hope balances the many interests of stakeholders involved.”

The design is expected to reflect the work of a special task force PennDOT formed after the last public meetings in June 2004, when residents, the city and others objected to 12 previous designs and an “Alternative 13,” a hybrid presented for the first time.

The public-private collaboration consists of two dozen interested parties, including Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation, the Washington’s Landing Homeowners Association, Mount Troy Citizens Council, Pittsburgh Planning Department and, because of indecision about the future of historic St. Nicholas Church, the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh.

The design of the “missing link” connecting the city to the rest of Route 28 and the Allegheny Valley Expressway has been complicated by a narrow shelf of land between Troy Hill and railroad rights of way, interchanges with the 31st Street and 40th Street bridges and environmental issues.

At the last update, PennDOT officials said they wanted to keep the maximum $180 million project on track for a fall 2008 groundbreaking.

Once under way, construction is expected to take four years and inconvenience drivers of more than 60,000 cars and trucks a day.

The region’s four-year Transportation Improvement Program that sets federal highway funding priorities provides $5 million for more pre-engineering, $4 million for final design, $1.6 million for utility relocation, $17 million for property acquisition and $8 million in 2008 to start the construction on time.

Monday’s public meeting will be from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Teamsters Temple in the 4700 block of Butler Street, Lawrenceville. PennDOT will make formal presentations at 4:30 and 6 p.m., with engineers and consultants on hand to explain maps and answer questions during intervening periods.

The same format will be used for meetings from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Feb. 17 at the Engineers Society of Western Pennsylvania, 337 Fourth Ave., Downtown, and from 4 to 7 p.m. Feb. 22 at the Holiday Inn at the RIDC Park in Harmar.

(Joe Grata can be reached at or 412-263-1985.)

This article appeared in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette. © Pittsburgh Post Gazette

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