Washington Pike interchange project recevies $300,000 grant from state

July 6, 2016
Washington Pike bridge across Chartiers Creek is one of the areas targeted for the alleviation of traffic congestion. - Harry Funk /The Almanac

The project aimed at alleviating some of the traffic congestion on Route 50 and Washington Pike at the Interstate 79 interchange in South Fayette Township received a $300,000 state grant.

The money comes from the Gaming Economic Development and Tourism Fund, a program established to help pay for community and economic development projects in Allegheny County through casino revenue.

“Improving this interchange has been a priority of mine since taking office,” state Rep. Jason Ortitay, R-South Fayette, said in a release announcing the grant along with state Sen. Guy Reschenthaler, R-Jefferson Hills.

“I am hopeful and optimistic that work could begin very soon,” Ortitay continued. “Residents, commuters and business owners need to see relief.”

More than 20,000 vehicles travel on Washington Pike through Bridgeville and South Fayette on any given day, according to the South West Communities Chamber of Commerce. With the degree of new development taking place in the area, the traffic congestion is expected to get worse in the coming years.

Officials from Bridgeville and South Fayette, Collier and Upper St. Clair townships formed a task force and have been working together for two years on the issue. The task force gave the state Department of Transportation a plan that would redesign the intersection, add additional lanes and expand bridges and access roads.

One of the suggestions includes widening the bridge that spans Chartiers Creek, which is currently four lanes. The task force suggested expanding the bridge to seven lanes and adding a full left-turn lane, along with a second left-turn lane on southbound Washington Pike to better access the I-79 interchange ramps and a dedicated right-turn lane from Bridgeville to the I-79 northbound ramp.

Another suggestion is to install an adaptive traffic light system on Route 50 and Washington Pike, near I-79. The system would consist of seven or eight lights that are able to communicate with one another to adjust timing to help the flow of traffic.

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