Tribune-Review: Penn Township approves new turnpike maintenance facility; details of interchange still up in air

Penn Township commissioners approved the preliminary development plan for a new Pennsylvania Turnpike maintenance complex featuring nearly 8 acres of solar panels.
The complex — which will contain an office space, truck and maintenance garages and a salt storage building — will be located on a nearly 42-acre property with an entrance along Route 130.
Pending stormwater, sewage and driveway permit requirements, the complex is scheduled to be built by fall 2026, according to the turnpike’s website.

The property is almost directly across the road from the current maintenance area, which has an entrance off Sandy Hill Road, said Bill Roberts, township community development director.
Before they approved the plan, resident Cliff Nabuda, who lives near the site, requested more details.
“I would also like to voice my disappointment that no one has come and spoken to anybody along Four Seasons Lane about this proposed development,” he said. “We’re the ones who are going to be the most severely impacted by it.”
The vote on the new complex comes about 10 months after the turnpike specified the location of an interchange officially announced in October 2021. The interchange will be installed near the intersection of Sandy Hill Road, Nike Site Road and Route 130 between spring of 2032 and fall of 2034, according to the turnpike website.
The turnpike organized an advisory group featuring officials from Penn Township, Westmoreland County and state government to navigate the design process with community input, said turnpike spokesperson Crispin Havener. The first meeting was in March.
“We are currently in the final stages of preliminary engineering and some aspects of the plans that we shared with the advisory group in March may still change,” Havener said. “Once that is completed, we will host a public meeting to show the potential plans to the community as a whole and get their feedback. This should take place in the near future.”
The advisory group’s meetings are not open to the public, but meeting summaries will be posted on its website.
Traffic on surrounding roadways, traffic disruption during the construction period and consistent communication between the turnpike, the state Department of Transportation and the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission were discussed at the March meeting, according to the advisory group website.
With little information available about the interchange, Nabuda said, residents are left to wait and see.
“We know the train is coming,” he said, referring to the interchange. “We don’t know which track it’s coming on.”
Turnpike officials have told the township that moving the maintenance facility is part of the turnpike’s $300 million project to widen the toll highway between the Monroeville and Irwin interchanges.
The widening project includes expanding the highway from four to six lanes in the 10-mile stretch and reconstructing the Irwin interchange. A bridge carrying Harvison Road over the turnpike in the township is set for removal this summer as part of the project, turnpike officials confirmed in February.

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