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Groundbreaking for New Section of Southern Beltway

Ground was broken  Monday on Phase 2 of the Southern Beltway (I-576) that will  eventually connect Pittsburgh International Airport to  the Mon Fayette Expressway.

This phase, totaling $550 million  includes construction of a 13-mile highway linking Route 22 with I-79 near McDonald and begins with the building of two bridges costing $14 million.

The project was made possible by Act 89, the $2.3 billion transportation funding plan, signed into law last November by Governor Tom Corbett who was present at the groundbreaking ceremony.

“That turns this whole southwestern corner of Pennsylvania into a hub, not only of transportation, but of energy. And that’s going to lead to I believe thousands of jobs here in the future in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania,” said Corbett.

The two bridges are set to be finished by 2015, and then the 13-mile section of the beltway that will complete the second phase connecting Route 22 to I-79 will open in the fall of 2019.This stretch of the beltway is expected to ease traffic on I-79 and the Parkway West (I-376).

The first phase of the 30-mile tolled beltway was completed in October 2006, and it connected I-376 to Route 22, and the third phase will run from I-79 to the Mon/Fayette Expressway.  The final phase is projected to cost $750 million but there is not timetable for completion.

“It’s important that we act in that bipartisan way. When I look at us opening these roads, they don’t have democratic cars or republican cars, labor or industry cars. It’s everybody out there. And we need to get this done and today is a great start to that,” said Corbett.

Jess was accepted as a WESA fellow in the news department in January 2014. The Erie, PA native attends Duquesne University where she has a double major--broadcast journalism and political science. Following her anticipated graduation in May 2015, she plans to enter law school or begin a career in broadcast journalism.
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