State Route 130 will be linked to the Pennsylvania Turnpike in a much-anticipated, $30 million interchange, according to the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission and elected officials.
“This new connection has long been advocated because of the benefits of improved safety and mobility for passenger and commercial traffic in the corridor,” Senate Majority Leader Kim Ward, R-Greensburg, said in a statement.
The long-awaited project can advance now that the PTC has largely been released from a 2007 mandate that required it to pay $450 million annually to PennDOT to help fund Commonwealth transit operations.
PA Act 44 of 2007 required the PTC to provide the supplemental transportation funding, but in 2013, lawmakers passed Act 89, which allowed the PTC’s annual payment to drop to $50 million by the end of the fiscal year.
The state’s general fund will now acquire the $450 million transit fund obligation, a shift that lawmakers must address in the next state budget.
“With these payments now in our rearview mirror, we can finally begin to ramp up efforts to rebuild and add capacity to our 564-mile roadway network,” Turnpike Commission CEO Mark Compton said in a statement.
Rep. George Dunbar, R-Westmoreland, said drivers from the Monroeville and Irwin interchanges currently have to travel up to 30 minutes longer to reach a location that should only take a few minutes from the Turnpike, or they’ll use shortcuts on smaller roads. Dunbar said he’s hopeful that a more direct route for Turnpike traffic will result in fewer car crashes.
“This has been a high priority of mine for many years,” Dunbar said in a statement. “Providing access to the Turnpike from Route 130 will be more than just a convenience, but it will be a boost for area businesses.”
The new Route 130 Interchange will provide residents and travelers in Pittsburgh’s eastern suburbs with better access to neighboring counties. Local officials said they hoped it will also spur economic development in Westmoreland County.
The PTC will also begin planning other “critical roadway enhancements” to the Pennsylvania Turnpike, such as new connections to improve access for motorists as well as rebuilding and widening older sections, some of which exceed 81 years.
Plans for the Route 130 Interchange are “well underway,” PA Turnpike Chief Engineer Brad Heigel said, but its completion depends on the conversion of the Turnpike’s toll-collection system to Open-Road Tolling, which involves moving tolling points from interchanges to fixed sites along the mainline roadway between entry and exit points.
Heigel said the Turnpike’s western sections will be converted to ORT in 2026.
This article was originally posted on $30 million interchange to link Route 130, Pennsylvania Turnpike