South Hills municipal managers address local road projects
In describing some road improvement projects on the horizon, Matthew Serakowski made the same statement twice.
“That will be a traffic nightmare.”
Serakowski, township manager in Upper St. Clair, joined several of his administrative counterparts to discuss their respective municipalities during a March 16 South West Communities Chamber of Commerce luncheon in Collier Township.
His references were to a pair of projects coming to the McLaughlin Run Road corridor that include replacing a Morrow Road bridge and improving McLaughlin’s intersection with Lesnett and McMillan roads.
“Some people might say, ‘That’s great news. It’s going to be a signalized intersection with turn lanes.’ But guess what?” Serakowski reported. “It’s going to be a roundabout. It will be the first one for the area.”
The state Department of Transportation, which cites safety and flow considerations for its recent emphasis on building traffic circles, looks to start work on the six-phase project late in 2018 and finish the following year, according to Serakowski.
Up the street, building a new bridge over McLaughlin Run is to take place for eight weeks this summer.
“We are looking at a four-mile detour for our residents, so we’re expecting a lot of cut-through traffic,” Serakowski said. “It’s going to be a lot of challenge for us to manage, but it’s something that is desperately needed.”
On the “desperately needed” list, many South Hills motorists will point to the oft-congested area surrounding Interstate 79’s Bridgeville interchange with Route 50, including the bridge connecting Bridgeville and South Fayette Township.
“PennDOT is in the development stage of doing some construction plans to widen that bridge to seven lanes, and to also make some other improvements on the Bridgeville side,” borough manager Lori Collins said. “The $560,000 price tag for the Chartiers Street widening comes in conjunction with that project.”
South Fayette has received a $400,000 matching grant through the state’s Municipal Signal Partnership Program toward an “adaptive traffic signal program” on Washington Pike and Route 50, according to township manager Ryan Eggleston. The technology bases signal timing changes on actual traffic demand.
Another project in the same area involves more widening.
“You’ll actually have two left-turn lanes coming north on Washington Pike that will allow you to turn onto 50 and northbound 79,” Eggleston said.
Also in South Fayette, improvements to the intersection of Boyce and Mayview roads is scheduled to begin this year, partially to address recurring instances of flooding along the Chartiers Creek.
Just across the creek, the Upper St. Clair intersection of Boyce and Boyce Plaza roads will receive a traffic signal, with the developer of the nearby Torrente apartment complex contributing substantially to the cost.
Contributing to the cost of a new signal at Bower Hill Road and Kane Boulevard in Scott Township is Providence Point, as the upscale retirement community is ready to expand with a second phase.
“We thought it was very important for us to get that signal finally installed,” township manager Denise Fitzgerald said.
Scott officials also are addressing congestion, especially during the holidays, at Raceway Plaza, off Route 50 near Greentree Road.
“We are working with the business owners there and PennDOT to try to come up with a different solution for everyone exiting that area,” Fitzgerald said.
In Collier Township, plans call for widening Route 50 around the intersections with Steen and Vanadium roads. Similar action is sought slightly farther south, as the road crosses Chartiers Creek into Bridgeville’s northern end.
“Bridgeville and Collier will be working to attempt to secure support and funding for that road-widening effort, as well,” township manager Kyle Thauvette said. “It affects so much of both of our communities that it’s one of those projects where you need equal support from both municipalities.”