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State officials have approved a $316,000 grant to redesign the intersection of Route 48 and Walnut Street to provide a traffic light and new turning lanes.
The White Oak-based developer of a shopping center called "Walnut Crossing" --- which has been under construction at that intersection for years --- will provide $135,000 in necessary matching funds, McKeesport officials said.
The grant, made through the Commonwealth Financing Authority's Multimodal Transportation Fund, was approved Thursday.
Mayor Michael Cherepko called the partnership a "shining example" of cooperation between the public and private sectors, and praised A.J. Tedesco, the city's community development director, for his work on the project.
“My administration is willing to work with developers who are committed to our community, Cherepko said.
The multimodal transportation fund supports projects that encourage economic revitalization.
The city’s vision for this intersection falls in line with the program's goal, said state Sen. Jim Brewster.
“The key to bringing more growth, development and jobs back to the Mon Valley is by making the area attractive for new employees and more productive for those that are already up and running,” Brewster said. “CFA transportation grants help open access to development-ready land parcels and improves the marketability of sites.”
City officials said adding a turning lane and traffic signal at the busy intersection in Christy Park will aid the development not just of Walnut Crossing, but of the nearby Olympia Shopping Center and the rest of the Walnut Street corridor.
“This has been an intersection that has needed significant improvements for many years,” Tedesco said. “We are pleased to have state support that will encourage and aid development of the Walnut Street corridor.”
The shopping center is being developed by a limited liability company connected to White Oak developer Robert Biros.
The McKeesport intersection was one of 16 projects which received funding from the authority last week.
Other grants in the Mon Valley included $350,000 pedestrian improvements to Ardmore Boulevard in Wilkinsburg; $493,000 for a bicycle and pedestrian "switchback" ramp connecting Pittsburgh's Mon Wharf area with the Smithfield Street Bridge; $313,000 for continued efforts to rehabilitate the Carrie Furnaces area in Rankin and Swissvale; and $72,000 for new sidewalks in West Homestead.
Originally published December 12, 2016.