Thursday, June 27, 2013

Suggestion for the Mon-Fayette Expressway/Southern Beltway project.

I've been poking around the construction updates on the Pennsylvania Turnpike's website, and I keep coming back to the subject of the controversial Mon-Fayette Expressway and Southern Beltway projects.  I know that residents and business owners in Hazelwood are vehemently opposed to this road because it would likely divide the neighborhood already reeling from the collapse of the steel industry.  Other places along the corridor of the proposed freeway oppose this project for similar reasons as well as the fact that it will be very expensive to construct.

The last leg of the Mon-Fayette Expressway will extend from its current terminus at Route 51 near Jefferson Hills Borough and connect with the Parkway East in Monroeville and in the City of Pittsburgh just west of Hazelwood.  The costs for this project keep increasing and the local opposition is getting stronger, which has already delayed the project.  My recommendation is the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission should consider dropping the segment running from the Parkway East near Hazelwood to the other part of the proposed roadway near the Edgar Thomson Works in Braddock.  This should immensely cut costs and quiet down some of the opposition.  The other segment would use an existing freight railroad right of way from the proposed "Y" interchange to I-376 near Monroeville.

I do envision a road linking Hazelwood with Braddock, but I see such a road as a parkway or tree-lined boulevard.  Currently, there is no road network directly linking these two Monongahela River establishments, and I believe these locations could be better served by a scenic parkway rather than an obstructive limited-access freeway.