HARRISBURG – The Engineering Society of Western Pennsylvania has honored the Interstate 79 Meadow Lands Interchange Improvements project with its 2013 Transportation Project of the Year Award.
Gannett Fleming performed preliminary engineering, final design and construction consultation services for the project in partnership with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. Swank Associated Companies was the prime contractor.
The interchange is at Exit 40 of I-79 at the intersection of state Routes 1009 and 1047 in South Strabane and Chartiers townships. The $23 million project covered 1.42 miles and was completed in July 2013.
According to a news release from Gannett Fleming, the design and construction efforts faced the challenge of reconfiguring the 50-year-old partial interchange into a full-access interchange with I-79 to meet the needs of the surrounding area in response to regional commercial and industrial growth, increasing truck traffic and anticipated future development. A split diamond interchange configuration was used, and the existing ramps were reconstructed to meet current design standards for acceleration and deceleration. In addition, new northbound entrance and southbound exit ramps were constructed, as were new connector roadways and ramps.
The project faced numerous challenges that affected both design and construction, including avoiding impacts to Chartiers Creek and relocating more than 800 feet of a tributary to the creek.
During construction, the project maintained two lanes of traffic on I-79 in each direction and significantly reduced any impacts to the I-79 travel lanes while erecting new dual bridges.
Other obstacles included relocating a side road, avoiding an archaeological site, avoiding impact to a golf course, closing off an old mine pond to re-establish low flow back into the tributary, and rehabilitating the bridge carrying Pike Street over Chartiers Creek.
Completion of the interchange project provided full access, which simplified navigation in the area, reduced through traffic, created direct access to I-79 from areas south and east of the interchange, improved access for existing and future commercial and industrial facilities in the surrounding area, and improved operation at a major intersection in the community of Meadow Lands.