Uniontown, PA (Dec. 2) - PennDOT recognized employees throughout District 12 with Innovation Awards commending their efforts to improve work practices and create efficiencies. Sixty eight District 12 employees were awarded with the George W. McAuley Innovation Award for their quick teamwork to repair the bridge carrying Route 51 over Interstate 70 in Rostraver Township after it was struck by an over-height truck. The damage caused by the incident required lane closures on I-70 and Route 51, requiring prompt response and collaboration among PennDOT's maintenance, design, and construction forces.
This project includes improvements to I-70 and SR 51. I-70 will be reconstructed to make this section of I-70 similar to other reconstructed sections of I-70 to the east and west. A Diverging Diamond Interchange (DDI) will be constructed to replace the current substandard cloverleaf interchange at I-70/SR 51.
One mile of SR 51 will be reconstructed and widened from south of Ridge Road to north of Concord Lane/Pfile Lane. SR 51 will also be milled and paved from Concord Lane/Pfile Lane to Harper Drive. Finley Road will be relocated behind the GetGo to form a four-way intersection at Route 981 and a left-turn lane will be added from SR 51 to Ridge Road. Planned improvements are detailed in the project overview video below.
An informational project brochure is available to view online or download and print to share project information with the community.
2.1 miles of the I-70 mainline will be improved, including wider medians and shoulders and drainage and stormwater improvements. This project will upgrade the typical section to include 10-foot-wide medians, two 12-foot-wide travel lanes in each direction, 12-foot-wide outside shoulders and new concrete pavement. These upgrades will make this section of I-70 similar to other reconstructed sections of I-70 to the east and west.
A DDI will be constructed to replace the substandard cloverleaf interchange. Traffic on SR 51 will cross (or diverge) to the opposite side of the road at the interchange and back again, allowing drivers to turn left directly onto the interchange ramps to access I-70 without crossing oncoming traffic. Curbed islands will guide traffic through the DDI intersections. Exiting and entering I-70 at the interchange will be safer with up-to-date deceleration and acceleration lanes. This DDI design fits almost entirely within the existing interchange area, minimizing right-of-way impacts. The new interchange will also include highway lighting. DDIs move traffic more efficiently than a standard diamond interchange and reduces conflict points resulting in reduced crashes. Approximately 130 DDIs are open to traffic in the United States.
The interchange improvements will also include the replacement of the existing bridge carrying SR 51 over I-70 with dual bridges. The new bridges will provide the necessary width for the improved SR 51 and I-70 and accommodate traffic movements through the DDI. The new bridges will also provide the required underclearance of 16 feet, six inches over I-70.
Improvements to SR 51 will include widening, replacement of a railroad bridge, an intersection relocation, and other safety improvements.
Finley Road will be relocated behind the GetGo station to create a four-way intersection with SR 981, eliminating the existing Finley Road intersection. There will be a new southbound right-turn lane from SR 51 to the relocated Finley Road, and a new access point to GetGo from the relocated Finley Road. This intersection will also be widened to allow larger vehicles to turn more easily.
At Ridge Road, a new 125-foot-long northbound left turn lane will be added on SR 51 and the intersection will be widened to better accommodate turning vehicles. Also, the new railroad bridge just north of the intersection will improve the intersection’s sight distance.
The existing W&LE Railroad bridge has a short span length, which creates a pinch point on SR 51. It also has a restrictive vertical underclearance and has been hit and damaged by large vehicles traveling under the bridge on SR 51. The new bridge will have a span length roughly double that of the existing bridge, which will support the widening of SR 51. The width of SR 51 pavement under the bridge will increase from the existing 47 feet to 84 feet wide and the vertical clearance under the bridge will increase to the standard 16 feet, six inches. Approximately 1,900 feet of the railroad line will be relocated to accommodate the new bridge alignment. Drainage and stormwater improvements will also be made in this area.
Two new signals will be installed at the interchange ramp intersections and the current Finley Road traffic signal will be eliminated. The signal at the new Finley Road/SR 981 intersection will be replaced, and the signals at the Concord Lane and Harper Drive intersections with SR 51 will be updated. The five traffic signals will be interconnected to provide efficient traffic flow along SR 51. New post-mounted and overhead signing along with updated pavement markings and guiderail will also be installed.