Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

The Long-Anticipated Southern Beltway Could Really Rev Up Growth in This Washington County Community

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

The Long-Anticipated Southern Beltway Could Really Rev Up Growth in This Washington County Community

Article excerpt

Residents of Robinson Township in Washington County waited more than three decades for the construction of the Southern Beltway to begin.

And they may have to wait a bit longer to see if the new thoroughfare will spark the growth so many hope it will, said township manager Monica Miller.

"If it does, we're ready," she said. "If it doesn't, we're good, too."

When it's finished, the 13-mile, $700 million toll road project will provide easy access to Pittsburgh International Airport, the Southpointe complex in Washington County, and Shell Chemicals Co.'s multibillion dollar petrochemical plant under construction in Beaver County.

Construction on the stretch of road through Robinson -- which cuts four miles from Route 22 to Quicksilver Road -- began in January. When it's completed, the project will include one interchange, three bridges and one overpass, according to the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission. Crews will excavate about 5 million cubic yards by the time the project is complete.

As of mid-February, Ms. Miller hadn't seen a surge in interest from new businesses or builders looking to put down roots in the municipality. But that doesn't mean they won't within the next year.

The tiny township's board of supervisors is counting on it.

"The potential for development with an interchange close to you is much better than when you have back roads you have to travel," board chairman Roger Kendall said.

A dozen homes were knocked down to make way for the toll road, Mr. Kendall said. A single road is closed right now, although more will be closed as the process moves forward. Some residents weren't pleased with the disruption the months of construction will bring, but he believes the majority of them welcomed the project.

"Other than the inconvenience of them doing the work, when it's all finished and done, absolutely it's a good thing," Mr. …

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