Fayette roads would get $102 million in proposal
Author: Joe Napsha
Date: June 7, 2012
The state would spend more than $100 million on 19 road and bridge projects in Fayette County from 2013 to 2016, under a proposed transportation project plan that state and local officials reviewed Thursday in Uniontown.
Fayette County would be allocated $102.48 million under the four-year transportation improvement program under consideration, with 52 percent of the money allocated for highway projects, said Rachel Duda, assistant executive for design for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation's District 12, which is based at Uniontown.
If the proposed Fayette County transportation improvement plan is approved, the county would receive about 30 percent of the $350.6 million projected for PennDOT District 12, which covers Greene, Washington and Westmoreland counties, in addition to Fayette.
The competition to get a project on the transportation improvement program is stiff. Within PennDOT's District 12, there is a backlog of $5 billion worth of road and bridge repairs. PennDOT's statewide funding has been slashed from $1.52 billion for the 2011-2014 transportation plan, to $1.25 billion for the 2013-2016 transportation plan, Duda said.
Among the Fayette County projects under consideration for the four-year period are the replacement of the Masontown Bridge over the Monongahela River, improving Route 21 from Thompson Crossroads to the Uniontown Mall entrance, upgrade the intersection of routes 40 and 381, replace Coal Lick Bridge on Route 51 near Uniontown and resurface about three miles of Route 51, from Route 201 to Randall's Restaurant in Perryopolis.
"With the number of roads and bridges that need to be replaced, time is of the essence," Matt Pavlosky, transportation planner for the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission, told the 16 state and local officials at the meeting.
Fayette Area Coordinated Transportation, the county's transit authority, would get $8.1 million for operating assistance in the four-year period, including $6.1 million in operating assistance.
With the Port Authority Transit in Allegheny County facing a $64 million deficit and planning to cut services by 35 percent, that will place more burdens on other public transit authorities in the region, Pavlosky said.
The public meeting in Uniontown completed the series of meetings in each of the 10 counties served by the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission, a regional planning commission that will convene on June 25 to vote on a proposed 2013-2016 transportation improvement program.
The plan approved by the regional panel will be submitted to PennDOT in Harrisburg for its approval. That typically does not occur until the fall, after the state General Assembly and the governor approve a budget.
Local officials raised concerns about two highway projects not on PennDOT's transportation list.
The state needs to improve the intersection of Route 119 and McClure Road in Upper Tyrone because of the amount of traffic generated by National Envelope's plant, and future traffic that would use the proposed Fay-Penn industrial park in that area. Edwards said the state should reconfigure the intersection or consider an overpass and entrance and exit ramps onto Route 119.
PennDOT also should consider improvements to Bruceton Road in Henry Clay Township, which "is in dire need of repair," said Dorsie Fisher, a Henry Clay supervisor.
Fisher said the road is a main artery into West Virginia from that corner of Fayette County. The base is breaking apart and the middle of the road has developed cracks. Trucks hauling drilling equipment to Marcellus shale sites have added to the deterioration, and the road's condition has become a safety issue, Fisher said.
The road will only get worse if Nemacolin Woodlands Resort opens the proposed Lady Luck casino, which would increase traffic on that township road, Fisher said.