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Traffic Nightmare? PennDOT Plans Route 65 Upgrades During Bridge Closing

PennDOT officials do not expect the resurfacing work to produce significant impacts to traffic during the closing of the Ambridge-Aliquippa Bridge.

A road resurfacing and upgrade project scheduled to take place in late May on Route 65 is expected to bring additional traffic restrictions in the area of the  — also designated as an alternative detour during repairs to a nearby bridge.

Beginning Saturday, the Ambridge-Aliquippa Bridge will close until mid-November as part of a $16.6 million repair project. 

PennDOT spokesman James Struzzi said the Route 65 resurfacing work — scheduled to occur about three months later — isn’t expected to cause any significant impacts to detouring traffic from the .  

“The resurfacing work on Route 65 will be done during off-peak hours when traffic volumes are considerably less,” Struzzi said. “There should not be any significant impacts to detouring traffic because of this work.”

The estimated $5 million to $6 million resurfacing and milling project will span from the Beaver County line at Ambridge Borough through and to the Sewickley Bridge.

Sewickley officials previously about the cost of providing additional traffic control during the bridge closing. 

Struzzi said officials will be monitoring traffic flows and making adjustments as needed. However, he said motorists tend to find their own routes after a closure goes into effect.

“Many people will go north to other bridges instead of traveling through Sewickley,” Struzzi said.

About the same time, a second $1 million to $2 million resurfacing project will occur farther southbound along Route 65 in Emsworth from Charles Willow Street to Hazelwood Avenue.

The repaving projects are scheduled to go out for bid in late March, with work slated to begin in late May or early June. The Route 65 upgrades are expected to be complete this fall.

UPDATE (8:45 a.m. Tuesday)

PennDOT today announced short-term lane closures will begin Thursday on northbound Route 65 in Leetsdale. 

Restrictions will occur as needed from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays through March 7 in the area of the Cross Street intersection. Crews from PSI, Inc. will be conducting geotechnical drilling and research for a future improvement project.

PennDOT advises motorists to anticipate changing traffic patterns and use caution.

Motorists can log on to 511pa.com or call 511 from any phone to check traffic conditions on major roadways before traveling. 

John Linko February 27, 2012 at 10:54 PM
It feels to me as if our area's traffic infrastructure is being increasingly impacted by traffic loads that they were never really intended to handle. One look at the Mt. Nebo area during afternoon rush hour is a clear indication of these impacts. If PennDOT is counting on motorists to seek out two-lane roads other than the published detour routes as a planning strategy to help justify this "double whammy" of construction projects, that's fundamentally irresponsible. Then again, many of these roads are maintained by counties or municipalities, so why should they care? Perhaps this brings to the forefront a strategy for municipal officials such as those in Sewickley and other boroughs and townships. Who's to say that restrictions on municipal roadways that discourage their use by commuters would not place the ball firmly back in PennDOT's court? Add to this mix what is expected to be increased truck traffic into and around rural areas for Marcellus Shale development, and some areas will be dealing with traffic issues on their older, rural road systems that defy common sense and responsible use.
Larissa Dudkiewicz February 28, 2012 at 01:47 PM
I agree about the infrastructure. Mt. Nebo, Mt. Lebanon, Cranberry also come to mind as places where roads built years ago weren't meant to handle today's traffic. I'm waiting to see what happens with this bridge situation.

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