New Castle News: Commission outlines local road, bridge projects

Two major interstate rehabilitation projects are planned in the coming years within Lawrence County.

Members of the Southwest Pennsylvania Commission, county officials and representatives of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation convened for a public meeting Monday to review the proposed, long-range transportation planning needs for the region.

The SPC officials, who hosted the meeting for public input, detailed long-range plans for Lawrence County’s roads, bridges and multimodal transportation. Municipal and agency officials also attended the session at the Hutchison Community Center in Neshannock Township.

According to information presented, $12.6 million has been committed to upgrade the entire stretch of Interstate 79 in Lawrence County, from the Butler County line to the Mercer County line.

The 16-mile section of Interstate 376, from Route 224 in Union Township to the Pennsylvania Turnpike in New Beaver Borough, also will be upgraded at a total cost of $7.6 million.

Dominick D’Andrea, SPC’s director of transportation, explained that the Transportation Improvement Plan is a four-year plan that is updated every two years. The long-range transportation plan looks ahead for 25 years and is upgraded every four years, he said.

“Public involvement is a key aspect” to the process, which focuses on investing and asset management with safety as the key, he said.

The current regional transportation improvement plan includes $1.9 billion in funding; the long-range funding is $10.78 billion through 2050, D’Andrea said.

The future investments in transportation planned in Lawrence County total $265 million, including highway, bridge and transit projects, he said.

These Lawrence County projects are on the list for the transportation improvement plan:

  • Route 18 over an abandoned plant access road
  • Route 18 in the city of New Castle, road preservation
  • Route 65/East Washington Street
  • Route 422 in Pulaski Township
  • Frew Mill Road Bridge replacement
  • East Washington Street Bridge replacement
  • Route 18 upgrade from Liberty Street to Jefferson Street
  • South Main Street Bridge replacement
  • Union Township sidewalk upgrades

Projects listed on the long-range plan are:

  • Replacement of the Mahoning Avenue Viaduct
  • Replacement of the Route 422 bridge over the Shenango River
  • Road preservation on Route 422 from the Ohio Line to Interstate 376
  • Route 422 East, from new Butler Road to Route 16, road preservation
  • Route 19, road preservation
  • Route 18, resurfacing from the Beaver County line to the Mahoning River
  • Route 18, reconstruction on Jefferson Street and Wilmington Road
  • Route 18, reconstruction of the Columbus Inner Belt.

New Castle Area Transit Authority projects also are listed for upgrades, according to the SPC officials.

They are:

  • Expanding and upgrading the bus garage, at $5.5 million
  • Upgrades to the bus shelter, $,250,000
  • Route 422 park and ride lot upgrades, $2.75 million.

Any member of the public who was unable to attend the meeting in-person, but would still like to provide input into the matters, is invited to submit their comments during the public comment period, through June 9. They can submit comments by email, complete an online form, by fax at (412) 391-9160, or mail comments to Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission’s address at PO Box 101429, Pittsburgh, PA 15237.

D’Andrea said the plans are to be adopted at the commission’s meeting in late June.

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