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PennDOT reveals construction plans for communities south of Pittsburgh

PennDOT reveals construction projects for southwestern Pennsylvania counties
PennDOT reveals construction projects for southwestern Pennsylvania counties 02:13

MOUNT PLEASANT, Pa. (KDKA) -- Drivers can expect to see more orange along some of our roadways, and by orange, we mean work zones. PennDOT District 12 unveiled its construction season plans on Monday.

One of those projects is State Route 981. PennDOT said it wants to update the infrastructure and make it a better commercial thoroughfare.

That $55 million project started in 2021 and will reach its completion this fall. Its goal is to widen the road and get more trucks through from Route 30 in Unity Township to Route 819 in Norvelt.

"We have a lot of customers that need to have a safe fast facility in our area," PennDOT District 12 Assistant Executive Bill Beaumariage said on Monday.

PennDOT is continuing its work on the I-70 and Route 51 interchange. The current cloverleaf design will be no more. For the last two years, crews have been working on this. The entire project will turn the interchange into a diverging diamond where lanes will cross over each other with the help of lights. It's designed to make traffic have fewer points of contact and be safer. It will also provide longer acceleration and deceleration lanes. The $120 million project will wrap up in October of 2027. Drivers can still expect crews working in that area.

"Unfortunately, that road was never designed as an interstate highway, so you'll see that there are actually stop signs at some of the ends of the ramps and that's not interstate criteria. We're going to update this," Beaumariage said about the current interchange design. 

In Washington County, I-79 from I-70 to Racetrack Road will have resurfacing and rehab work. It's part of the 94 miles of repaving and 500 miles of sealing PennDOT will be doing in the district that covers Greene, Washington, Fayette and Westmoreland counties. Drivers can expect some overnight restrictions during the summer and fall.

"We want to make sure that we get the full usage out of our roads and bridges so making sure that we do the right investments at the right time," District 12 Executive Rachel Duda said.

PennDOT plans to have 28 bridges preserved and 45 rehabbed or replaced. The Dunlap's Creek Bridge in Brownsville, Fayette County, will be disassembled, repaired and then put back together. The bridge dates to 1839 as the first cast iron metal arch bridge in the country. Drivers there will have full closures on Market Street through next December, but the hope is to have it done sooner.

Other projects include working on Route 21 in the Waynesburg area. There are two separate projects. They are replacing the existing structure over Tollgate Run. Traffic will be controlled by flaggers. Work goes until the fall.

There will be milling and paving work on Route 19 and 21 (High Street and Greene Street) in Waynesburg. It will last until the fall as well. The work will be single-lane restrictions for part of the project.

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