Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Mon-Fay Expressway Now 13 Miles Longer Link to Pittsburgh Still a Long Way Off

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Mon-Fay Expressway Now 13 Miles Longer Link to Pittsburgh Still a Long Way Off

Article excerpt

Thirty-five miles down and about 35 miles and $2.5 billion to go.

That message was made clear yesterday as Pennsylvania Turnpike, public and civic officials cut ribbons to open the last 13 miles of a 17-mile section of the Mon-Fayette Expressway between I-70 in Fallowfield and Route 51 in Jefferson Hills.

"If we stop here, the great promise of this road will be lost," Allegheny County Chief Executive Jim Roddey said. "We must complete the expressway all the way to Pittsburgh."

"Let the word go forth to any naysayers out there that we're going to build the sections between Uniontown and Brownsville, and to Pittsburgh and the airport," Turnpike Commissioner Jim Dodaro of White Oak said. "The expressway will become the catalyst for the Mon Valley and the region."

Hundreds of ceremony visitors and participants endured -- but mostly ignored -- an anti-expressway demonstration carried out by several dozen people.

Tom Buchele, director of the University of Pittsburgh-affiliated Environmental Law Clinic, which is providing legal assistance to highway opponents, said his necktie adorned with dinosaurs symbolized his feelings.

"New expressways are dinosaurs of economic and transportation planning," he said.

Several hours after multiple ceremonies naming the Washington County portion in honor of state Sen. Barry Stout, D-Bentleyville, and existing and future interchanges in honor of 13 Medal of Honor recipients, the four-lane toll road opened to traffic.

The toll is $1 for cars and pickup trucks, 50 cents at three intermediate interchanges, and up to $5 for some six-axle tractor- trailers.

The 17-mile section of expressway, the first piece to enter Allegheny County, cost $588 million.

Seven miles of already opened expressway connect to the new section, providing 24 continuous miles to California, Pa., and the Brownsville areas.

Eleven more miles have been completed in the Uniontown area.

What remain are the Uniontown-to-Brownsville section and the Route 51-to-Pittsburgh-and-Monroeville sections. The latter, where expressway opposition has spawned, is in the environmental study and alignment stages. …

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