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PUBLIC REVIEWS PLANS FOR MON/FAYETTE TRANSPORTATION PROJECT

 PUBLIC REVIEWS PLANS FOR MON/FAYETTE TRANSPORTATION PROJECT
 MONONGAHELA, Nov. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- More than 500 people attended a meeting held yesterday by the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission to update the public on the planned construction of the section of the Mon/Fayette Transportation Project from Interstate 70 to State Route 51.
 "Our commitment is to keep this project on a fast track and to get this important section to construction by late 1994," said James B. Wilson, associate executive director and chief engineer for the Turnpike.
 Interested citizens attended the 1:30 to 8:30 p.m. meeting at the Valley Inn Volunteer Fire Department Social Hall to review preliminary plans and comment on the project development.
 The expressway section under discussion at this meeting will be a four-lane, limited access toll road of about 17 miles extending north from Interstate 70 (near Speers) to State Route 51 (near Elizabeth).
 The meeting focused on the accelerated rate which the project has taken and the environmental studies which are currently under way. The citizens were shown changes in previous alternatives which have occurred since the last public meeting and were able to discuss the effects of those changes with transportation professionals.
 "At the previous public officials meeting in June of 1991, the Turnpike presented plans for an interchange at Walnut Ridge Road and an interchange with State Route 88 south of Finleyville, Pennsylvania," said Leonard Oyler, senior civil engineer for the commission. Comments received from the public officials indicated that they wanted the Walnut Ridge Interchange moved further north. "They were also very vocal about wanting an interchange at State Route 136," said Oyler. "So, we shifted Walnut Ridge Interchange to Coyle-Curtain Road to provide more direct access to the Donora Area. We also included an interchange with State Route 136 as requested."
 At the public meeting in June 1991, the Turnpike Commission was approached by representatives from U.S. Steel Mining Company, Mathies Coal Company, and West Penn Power Company. They were concerned about the impact the proposed alternative had on their coal or fly ash refuse areas, and how that would affect their businesses.
 "We met with them individually, and as a result, we changed the alternative to minimize impact on their businesses. They were satisfied with these results," said Oyler. "The public plays a key role in the completion of our studies and the input from our citizens is essential in developing an environmental ia?ct statement," said Wilson.
 "We cannot do what people suggest or want us to do, but when we can, we make every attempt to incorporate their suggested changes."
 There will be another series of public meetings on this section in early 1993 to discuss further developments. Informing citizens every step of the way will avoid unnecessary delays and help to reach the goal of construction in late 1994.
 The Turnpike is working in partnership with the Pennsylvania Department or Transportation (PennDOT), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), and the West Virginia Department of Transportation (WVDOT). State and federal environmental resource agencies are also included in this unified partnership. All these agencies have agreed that the best and most expedient way to develop the project is by sections.
 Currently, the project is being developed in four continuous sections: Morgantown to Uniontown; Uniontown to Brownsville (Interstate 70); Interstate 70 to State Route 51, in Allegheny County; and from State Route 51 to Pittsburgh.
 The sections were determined by a needs study of existing highway conditions, future traffic demands, and social and economic considerations. The advantage to working with individual sections is that progress in one section will not be held up by delays in another.
 The four sections will be considered independently of one another and will focus on the differing needs of the various communities extending from Pittsburgh to Morgantown, W.Va. There has already been some highway development in the region to lay groundwork for the Mon/Fayette Transportation Project. These include: Toll 43 connecting Interstate 70 to U.S. Route 40, and the 3.8-mile Chadville Demonstration Project, south of Uniontown.
 Two sections of the Mon/Fayette Transportation Project -- Morgantown to Uniontown, and Interstate 70 to State Route 51 in Allegheny County -- are moving full speed ahead.
 -0- 11/6/92
 /CONTACT: Thomas A. Fox of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, 412-271-7191/ CO: Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission ST: Pennsylvania IN: TRN SU:


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Date:Nov 6, 1992
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