The first major roadway built in Pittsburgh since 1989 partially opened for travel on Friday.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony for the newly built Southern Beltway was held in Robinson Township, Washington County on Thursday prior to the opening on October 15th.
According to 2 CBS Pittsburgh, the 19 mile long Southern Beltway, also known as Interstate 576, stretches from Interstate 79 at the Allegheny and Washington county lines, all the way to the Pittsburgh International Airport. The highway features nine exits and attaches to the Findlay Connector, which will not be considered a part of the Southern Beltway.
Currently, the ramps to and from Washington County are open, along with the ramp onto Southbound 79 from the Southern Beltway, and the ramp from Washington County onto the new road heading towards the airport.
“The rest of the ramps are going to be in construction,” says Steve Hrvoich, Engineering Manager for the Pennsylvania Turnpike. “We’re still paving concrete on some of them,” he says. “Roadside development backing up the shoulders, seeding, things like that drainage. We’re gonna open a couple more up later this year. And, then, the rest of them will be done in the spring.”
The Southern Beltway will also host three toll points which will charge $5.60 for typical 5-axle semi trucks with an E-ZPass, and $11.20 for those tolling by plate.
“That [tolls] will pay for maintenance of the roadway. We have maintenance crews on site maintaining the road 24/7,” said Turnpike Commission Operations Communication Officer Renee Colborn.
“A lot of people in the area, they’re buying up parcels of land as quickly as they possibly can. We are seeing industrial parks come and manufacturing facilities,” said Washington County Commissioner Nick Sherman. “Really everyone in Washington County will experience a road that takes us directly to the airport corridor.”
Officials expect the new roadway to reduce congestion on nearby major roadways such as Parkway West, I-79 and Route 50, while also keeping traffic off of rural roads.