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Local Reps Praise Decision on Mon-Fayette Expressway

By Submitted Report
The Tube City Almanac
June 30, 2017
Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Two McKeesport-area state representatives are praising the decision by the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission to recommend completion of the Mon-Fayette Expressway through the Mon-Yough area.

The commission, which oversees infrastructure planning for 10 counties, including Allegheny, voted 48 to 4 on Monday to include the 14-mile extension of the toll road into the region's transportation master plan.

The extension would take the highway, also known as Pennsylvania Route 43, from its current northern end in Jefferson Hills through West Mifflin, Dravosburg, Duquesne, East Pittsburgh, Turtle Creek and Wilkins Twp. to the Parkway East in Monroeville.

“We would like to publicly acknowledge the members of the (SPC) and Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald for their hard work and willingness to work together in taking the next step toward bringing this important transportation project closer to reality," said state Reps. Bill Kortz of Dravosburg and Marc Gergely of White Oak, in a joint statement.

About 70 miles of the toll road are currently complete between Route 51 in Large and Interstate 68 near Morgantown, W.Va. But the remaining 14 miles in Allegheny County --- through densely populated areas --- have been off-again, on-again for at least 20 years.

“This project has been in the works for at least 15 years," Gergely and Kortz said in the joint statement, adding that it "looks like the final hurdle to the project's construction has been overcome, thanks in large part to (Fitzgerald’s) leadership in this final vote."

Kortz and Gergely also thanked "the many municipalities," including McKeesport, which publicly endorsed the project through resolutions supporting the northern extension of the Mon-Fayette.

"Many of our colleagues in the legislature also supported the plan, including state Senators Jim Brewster, Jay Costa, Pat Stefano, Camera Bartolotta and Kim Ward and 19 state House members from Southwestern Pennsylvania," the two area representatives said.

The highway extension, if built according to plans made public in the early 2000s, would travel the northern shore of the Monongahela River before crossing the river near Kennywood, and then parallel Larimer Avenue through Turtle Creek and Wilkins.

Local interchanges have been proposed for Dravosburg Hill at Richland Avenue; on Route 837 near Kennywood; and in East Pittsburgh near Keystone Commons.

The cost of the extension through the Mon-Yough area is estimated at more than $2 billion. Construction could start as early as 2020.

Originally published June 30, 2017.

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