Mon Valley Independent: West Newton Bridge rehab among projects eyed with $300M in funding

The West Newton Bridge is among a list of projects that could be brought to life with $300 million in road, transit and bridge improvement funds that Westmoreland County is slated to receive as part of regional infrastructure work.

The metal truss bridge, built in 1909, carries about 6,500 vehicles each day on Route 136 over the Youghiogheny River, connecting two parts of the borough.

Angela Baker, transportation planning manager for PennDOT’s District 12, estimated the project at $17 million. The bridge is used by pedestrians and bicyclists on the nearby Great Allegheny Passage.

“It is a very historic structure,” she said.

It was listed in poor condition in 2022 with a deteriorating superstructure. Officials plan to build a temporary bridge next to it during the work, as a detour would be significant. The bridge most recently underwent a preservation effort in 2010, following previous rehabilitation work in 1957 and 1984. Bids for the work could be sought next year.

The project appeared among several on the horizon around Westmoreland County in a proposed 2025-2028 Transportation Improvement Program being planned by the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission.

The agency anticipates spending $3.8 billion on highway, bridge and transit projects in 10 counties in 2025-2028.

They’re projects that are important, especially in areas that have seen growth and need additional infrastructure investment to keep up, said Jason Rigone, county director of planning and development.

“This TIP focuses on major priorities in the county,” he said.

The regional commission connects agencies, such as PennDOT, with county and municipal leaders to examine what projects are important and how to best use funding. During a public meeting Monday at the county courthouse in Greensburg on the proposal, Dom D’Andrea, commission director of transportation planning, said the program looks out four years and gets updated every two years.

As projects in the plan are completed or costs change, officials have to decide how to adjust it or what improvements should come next based on the amount of federal funding the commission believes it will receive. If approved, it will go into effect Oct. 1.

It will likely be years before any of the projects mentioned Monday come to fruition. They include:

  • Construction of a roundabout at the sometimes-clogged intersection of Donohoe and Georges Station roads in Hempfield. Baker estimated that project at $8 to $10 million.
  • Improvements on Route 201 in the area of Interstate 70 in Rostraver Township. A study will help identify potential work there, but it would span between C. Vance DeiCas Memorial Highway to Finley Road.

“It is very congested,” Baker said.

That has been a priority of Rostraver leaders for a long time, Rigone said, adding he’s happy to see it on the list so officials can find a solution.

The commission is holding public meetings regarding the draft program in each of the 10 counties it serves. It will meet Tuesday at 2 p.m. at the Kittanning Township Volunteer Fire Department in Armstrong County and Thursday at 6 p.m. in a virtual event for Allegheny County.

The 2025-2028 draft plan is available at under programs, transportation and TIP or here.

Comments on it are being accepted until June 7. They can be submitted via email at or by mail to the attention of Ronda Craig, Southwestern PA Commission, 42 21st St., Suite 101, Pittsburgh, PA 15222.

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