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Author Topic: SW Pennsylvania  (Read 99022 times)

Mr_Northside

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Re: SW Pennsylvania
« Reply #50 on: February 05, 2014, 05:50:35 PM »

My guess is, PennDOT plans to eventually widen the Parkway West to eight lanes, and they also have big plans for the U.S. 22/U.S. 30/PA 60 interchange, which would necessitate very long ramps. I bet that the Parkway West will be 10 lanes wide there, with four of the 10 lanes going to or coming from U.S. 22/U.S. 30.

I'd substitute "plans" to "wishes" - as in, "If Santa Claus were real...."
They wrapped up a reasonably-sized project at the US-22/30 / PA-60 interchange a few years ago to reconfigure ramps to reduce all the weaving, so I doubt that junction will be significantly touched again for decades.

I wouldn't be surprised if the Parkway West gets widened to 6 lanes from that interchange to I-79 (they already have the mile or so from I-79 to Campbells Run Rd 6 lanes), but I'd be surprised if it got more than that  (unless there was a 4th lane in each direction that's an add/drop between exits).

Other than interchange improvements (that might not be that sweeping), I wouldn't hold out much hope for anything east of I-79.

As for the Parkway East, in the link PA Highways posted above ( http://www.i376parkwayeast.com ), PennDOT admits that any real widening isn't in the cards for the road.

Even if the money were there (and it isn't), I doubt there would be the political will to (literally) carve out the right-of-way necessary.
Though anything is possible, in the decades to come - there could be such overwhelming support (and an acceptance of the people to "pay up" for such work) - that I could be wrong.  But for the foreseeable future I mostly see a lot of talk.


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Gnutella

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Re: SW Pennsylvania
« Reply #51 on: February 05, 2014, 06:35:09 PM »

By the way, here's proof that PennDOT has big plans for the Parkway West. Check out the width of the right of way under the Ridge Road overpass:



Notice how there's a little bit of grass near the eastbound exterior shoulder, and a whole lot of grass near the westbound exterior shoulder. That's no accident. PennDOT has left room under the overpass for eight travel lanes, an acceleration lane, a deceleration lane, two interior and exterior shoulders, and a median barrier. Per AASHTO requirements, all travel lanes and exterior shoulders on Interstates have to be 12' wide, and the interior shoulders also have to be 12' wide on Interstates with six or more lanes. Median barriers have to be at least 2' thick and reinforced. This gives us the following equation for eight lanes, one acceleration lane, one deceleration lane, two interior and exterior shoulders, and a median barrier:

12' + 12' + 12' + 12' + 12' + 12' + 12' + 2' + 12' + 12' + 12' + 12' + 12' +12' +12' = 170'

Envision the shoulders as BLUE and the median barrier as RED in the equation above in order to see the cross-section of the planned highway. Now here's a distance measure from one overpass pier to the other:



As you can see, the distance measured is the exact amount of room needed for the setup that I described.

About half a mile west of the Ridge Road interchange is the U.S. 22/U.S. 30/PA 60 interchange. U.S. 22/U.S. 30 is a limited-access highway itself, but movement between it and the Parkway West involves an obsolete partial-cloverleaf interchange that does not meet AASHTO requirements for movement between two limited-access highways. More than likely, PennDOT will rebuild this as a stack interchange in the future, with acceleration and deceleration lanes extending for half a mile to the east, and under the Ridge Road overpass.

The only obstacles in the way of PennDOT widening the Parkway West right now are the following:


1. The design of the existing overpasses at the U.S. 22/U.S. 30/PA 60 and Green Tree/Mt. Lebanon interchanges are identical, with piers constricting the right of way underneath them. These overpasses were more than likely built in the 1960's, which means that they're at or near the end of their engineered lifespans.

2. The Wheeling & Lake Erie (W&LE) Railroad has two bridges that span the Parkway West with piers constricting the right of way underneath them. The bridge near the Carnegie interchange is about 1,000' long, and the bridge near the Fort Pitt Tunnel is about 500' long. Both would need to be rebuilt in order to create extra space.

3. The Fort Pitt Tunnel can only fit four lanes, and it needs to fit at least six lanes in order not to create a dangerous bottleneck if the rest of the Parkway West is widened to eight lanes.


If work is done on any of these things, especially the overpasses since they're the easiest to fix, then consider it another step toward widening the Parkway West.
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Gnutella

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Re: SW Pennsylvania
« Reply #52 on: February 05, 2014, 06:58:12 PM »

They wrapped up a reasonably-sized project at the US-22/30 / PA-60 interchange a few years ago to reconfigure ramps to reduce all the weaving, so I doubt that junction will be significantly touched again for decades.

That interchange work was funded by federal stimulus money back in 2009, so for all we know, it could have just been "busy work." I wouldn't be surprised if PennDOT comes out with bigger plans near the end of the decade. By that time it would have been a decade since the previous interchange work, which means that a full reconfiguration of the interchange would probably be about 15 years after the previous work. It doesn't sound like a long time, but it really is, especially given the age of the current overpass.


I wouldn't be surprised if the Parkway West gets widened to 6 lanes from that interchange to I-79 (they already have the mile or so from I-79 to Campbells Run Rd 6 lanes), but I'd be surprised if it got more than that  (unless there was a 4th lane in each direction that's an add/drop between exits).

Maybe six lanes plus a collector/distributor lane on each side will work.


Other than interchange improvements (that might not be that sweeping), I wouldn't hold out much hope for anything east of I-79.

What has to happen first is that the interchanges get reconfigured and the two railroad bridges rebuilt.


As for the Parkway East, in the link PA Highways posted above ( http://www.i376parkwayeast.com ), PennDOT admits that any real widening isn't in the cards for the road.

I'm not that worried about the Parkway East right now. I think the Parkway West is much more important.


Even if the money were there (and it isn't), I doubt there would be the political will to (literally) carve out the right-of-way necessary.

Pennsylvania just passed a comprehensive transportation funding bill, so the money might be available sooner than you think. Besides, I favor an incremental approach. Do one thing, then do another, then do another. For example, reconfigure the interchanges first, then replace the railroad bridges, then enlarge the Fort Pitt Tunnel, and then widen the highway. This could all be done over a matter of 15 to 20 years. And there's no reasonable objection to upgrading an existing highway, because upgrading existing infrastructure is what needs to be done all across the United States.
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ARMOURERERIC

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Re: SW Pennsylvania
« Reply #53 on: February 05, 2014, 08:51:51 PM »

I could envision 2-4 HOT lanes on an entirely different alignment between the top of Greentree Hill and the old J&L curve, you could keep HOT lanes entirely on the South Side between those 2 points build a tunnel higher up and to the south of the existing Ft. Pitt Tunnels that slopes down to come out above Carson Street north of Station Square with some form of downtown connector bridge using the old Wabash Bridge location
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pghgal_90

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Re: SW Pennsylvania
« Reply #54 on: February 05, 2014, 09:59:25 PM »

Unrelated, but: has anybody noticed shields/signs missing lately? My guess it was the wind and the cold weather last week blowing some off, but on my way home from the North Hills a week or so ago, the I-279 shield had been blown right off! It just had the "South" bracket on top.

Where was this?

Late reply, but - it was right as you get on the Veteran's Bridge heading southbound (pretty much the first "South I-279" shield you see when you're actually on the bridge).
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rickmastfan67

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Re: SW Pennsylvania
« Reply #55 on: February 05, 2014, 10:15:07 PM »

Unrelated, but: has anybody noticed shields/signs missing lately? My guess it was the wind and the cold weather last week blowing some off, but on my way home from the North Hills a week or so ago, the I-279 shield had been blown right off! It just had the "South" bracket on top.

Where was this?

Late reply, but - it was right as you get on the Veteran's Bridge heading southbound (pretty much the first "South I-279" shield you see when you're actually on the bridge).

When you mention the Veteran's Bridge, don't you mean the first SB I-579 shield?

That shield disappeared sometime between June '11 and May '12.
Shield still there - http://goo.gl/maps/2Vy9Q
Shield gone - http://goo.gl/maps/WmjlE

It's a shame too, as I-579 was the only Interstate that still had exclusively "Pennsylvania" named I shields on it.  Now they are all neutered along I-579.  I know of only one I-579 state name shield left, and that is at the HOV lane intersection with Mario Lemieux Place. http://goo.gl/maps/sr2Um

JawnwoodS96

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Re: SW Pennsylvania
« Reply #56 on: February 06, 2014, 12:48:51 PM »

I could envision 2-4 HOT lanes on an entirely different alignment between the top of Greentree Hill and the old J&L curve, you could keep HOT lanes entirely on the South Side between those 2 points build a tunnel higher up and to the south of the existing Ft. Pitt Tunnels that slopes down to come out above Carson Street north of Station Square with some form of downtown connector bridge using the old Wabash Bridge location
Building a new tunnel would not be needed because there is still the Wabash Tunnel, which really hasn't been utilized all too well. Though I could see something like a southern bus route working (Similarly to the eastern and western bus routes).
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rickmastfan67

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Re: SW Pennsylvania
« Reply #57 on: February 06, 2014, 09:53:51 PM »

I could envision 2-4 HOT lanes on an entirely different alignment between the top of Greentree Hill and the old J&L curve, you could keep HOT lanes entirely on the South Side between those 2 points build a tunnel higher up and to the south of the existing Ft. Pitt Tunnels that slopes down to come out above Carson Street north of Station Square with some form of downtown connector bridge using the old Wabash Bridge location
Building a new tunnel would not be needed because there is still the Wabash Tunnel, which really hasn't been utilized all too well. Though I could see something like a southern bus route working (Similarly to the eastern and western bus routes).

However, the Wabash Tunnel is really only wide enough for 1 lane of traffic.  Sure, it's painted for 2 lanes (1 each way), but 2 cars side-by-side would be a very, very tight squeeze.

Mr_Northside

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Re: SW Pennsylvania
« Reply #58 on: February 06, 2014, 10:47:10 PM »

Also, I do believe the Wabash tunnel is a Port Authority facility, not PennDOT.

Not to say PennDOT couldn't buy it, but they would also probably have to pay the feds back the $$ it gave with the intent of that tunnel being an HOV/transit piece of infrastructure.
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JoeP

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Re: SW Pennsylvania
« Reply #59 on: February 16, 2014, 01:03:28 PM »

Adding a lane east of I79 through Greentree along with improved interchanges and ramps would do wonders.

I don't see much happening to the tunnels. However, if something could be done, make it wider, not necessarily wide enough for another lane, but almost so that it's so wide that people don't reflexively slow down...
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Gnutella

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Re: SW Pennsylvania
« Reply #60 on: February 17, 2014, 04:58:32 AM »

Adding a lane east of I79 through Greentree along with improved interchanges and ramps would do wonders.

I don't see much happening to the tunnels. However, if something could be done, make it wider, not necessarily wide enough for another lane, but almost so that it's so wide that people don't reflexively slow down...

At the very least, I'd like to see the Parkway West six-laned with proper shoulders between Pittsburgh International Airport and PA 51, and all the interchanges improved. At PA 51, they could reconfigure the interchange into a modified directional T with a lane added westbound and dropped eastbound to account for only four lanes through the Fort Pitt Tunnel.

I also hope that if they do it this way, they'll design everything between I-79 and PA 51 to make a future eight-laning easy if they ever get around to six-laning the Fort Pitt Tunnel.
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pghgal_90

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Re: SW Pennsylvania
« Reply #61 on: February 20, 2014, 06:56:47 PM »

Did anybody happen to drive 51 North today? Shame on Penndot. They put up the WRONG SIGN for US 19; it was a PA keystone 19 today, right next to the 51 keystone...
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CanesFan27

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Re: SW Pennsylvania
« Reply #62 on: February 20, 2014, 08:05:41 PM »

Also, I do believe the Wabash tunnel is a Port Authority facility, not PennDOT.

Not to say PennDOT couldn't buy it, but they would also probably have to pay the feds back the $$ it gave with the intent of that tunnel being an HOV/transit piece of infrastructure.


It is a Port Authority facility.  The key to making that facility viable would have been the scuttled bridge over the Mon.  What I find most fascinating are the Wabash proposals prior to SkyBus.  I did a small write up on the Wabash Tunnel about ten years ago here:
http://www.gribblenation.com/swparoads/coulda/wabash.html

I would highly recommend the new folks to the forum (and the older forum folks like James Mast) to spend some time at the Heinz History Center or the Carnegie Library in Oakland.  There are some great vertical files on some of the prior highway projects in Pittsburgh.  Jeff Kitsko and I did a lot of research trips there when I would come up from NC over Thanksgiving and Christmas 10-15 years ago.  The Pleasant Hills Library was also a good source. I'm also sure that some of the other Carnegie or older municipal libraries in the area are good research spots - we just never got there.  I know Bruce did a lot of research at those place for pghbridges as well.
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rickmastfan67

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Re: SW Pennsylvania
« Reply #63 on: February 20, 2014, 10:36:22 PM »

Also, I do believe the Wabash tunnel is a Port Authority facility, not PennDOT.

Not to say PennDOT couldn't buy it, but they would also probably have to pay the feds back the $$ it gave with the intent of that tunnel being an HOV/transit piece of infrastructure.


It is a Port Authority facility.  The key to making that facility viable would have been the scuttled bridge over the Mon.  What I find most fascinating are the Wabash proposals prior to SkyBus.  I did a small write up on the Wabash Tunnel about ten years ago here:
http://www.gribblenation.com/swparoads/coulda/wabash.html

I would highly recommend the new folks to the forum (and the older forum folks like James Mast) to spend some time at the Heinz History Center or the Carnegie Library in Oakland.  There are some great vertical files on some of the prior highway projects in Pittsburgh.  Jeff Kitsko and I did a lot of research trips there when I would come up from NC over Thanksgiving and Christmas 10-15 years ago.  The Pleasant Hills Library was also a good source. I'm also sure that some of the other Carnegie or older municipal libraries in the area are good research spots - we just never got there.  I know Bruce did a lot of research at those place for pghbridges as well.

The Heinz History Center is too commercial now.  And this is coming from my dad, who was the leader of the Pittsburgh Historical Society before Heinz got their hands into it and moved it out of Oakland.  They wouldn't even give my dad a free pass to the new place, even with him being the former leader of it, to even see his brick in the place.  He thinks that they have hidden it under one of the trollies there.

Mr_Northside

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Re: SW Pennsylvania
« Reply #64 on: February 21, 2014, 07:08:07 PM »

Did anybody happen to drive 51 North today? Shame on Penndot. They put up the WRONG SIGN for US 19; it was a PA keystone 19 today, right next to the 51 keystone...

There's been that 19-in-a-keystone sign near Crane Ave. for quite some time now.  Not sure if it was PennDOT or a contractor, but they're certainly not in a hurry to swap it out with a US shield.
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ARMOURERERIC

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Re: SW Pennsylvania
« Reply #65 on: February 21, 2014, 07:18:28 PM »

Has construction started on the 22-79 section of the S. Beltway yet?  If so, is there a website?  I am aware of the PTC website for the project, but it has not been updated in quite some time.

Also, has any excavation started on the US 219 Somerset project.  GSV appears to show the tree clearing nearly complete.  Website for that?

Thanks.
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CanesFan27

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Re: SW Pennsylvania
« Reply #66 on: February 22, 2014, 11:03:49 AM »

Speaking of the Ft. Pitt Tunnels/bridge - some great photos of the bridge & tunnels under construction and from the 1960s.  Totally forgot that the travel lanes were once brick.

http://pgdigs.tumblr.com/post/77369719818/the-day-before-fort-pitt-tunnel-opened-in-august
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pghgal_90

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Re: SW Pennsylvania
« Reply #67 on: February 22, 2014, 12:25:50 PM »

Did anybody happen to drive 51 North today? Shame on Penndot. They put up the WRONG SIGN for US 19; it was a PA keystone 19 today, right next to the 51 keystone...

There's been that 19-in-a-keystone sign near Crane Ave. for quite some time now.  Not sure if it was PennDOT or a contractor, but they're certainly not in a hurry to swap it out with a US shield.

I only take that way to work every once in a blue moon (or if Liberty Tunnels traffic backs up) and I had never seen it before then. I thought it might have been a simple mistake, swapping it out for a real PA 19 shield, but then I learned there is no PA 19.  :pan:
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Re: SW Pennsylvania
« Reply #68 on: February 23, 2014, 01:48:06 AM »


rickmastfan67

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Re: SW Pennsylvania
« Reply #69 on: February 23, 2014, 05:50:53 AM »



This one has been around for 10+ years.  And the funny thing about it is that there is a proper US-19 shield on the pole that this overhead is attached to!
http://goo.gl/maps/dwmTP

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Re: SW Pennsylvania
« Reply #70 on: February 23, 2014, 04:21:46 PM »



This one has been around for 10+ years.  And the funny thing about it is that there is a proper US-19 shield on the pole that this overhead is attached to!
http://goo.gl/maps/dwmTP

Wow.
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Re: SW Pennsylvania
« Reply #71 on: February 24, 2014, 07:47:28 AM »

Has construction started on the 22-79 section of the S. Beltway yet?  If so, is there a website?  I am aware of the PTC website for the project, but it has not been updated in quite some time.

Also, has any excavation started on the US 219 Somerset project.  GSV appears to show the tree clearing nearly complete.  Website for that?

Thanks.
Work on PA-576 won't begin until spring, when a bridge will be built to carry the mainline over US-22. The rest of the highway will begin construction in 2016.

Not sure about US-219, there doesn't seem to be a website or article any where about that project.
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Mr_Northside

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Re: SW Pennsylvania
« Reply #72 on: May 15, 2014, 04:36:12 PM »

PennDOT to remove ceiling from Fort Pitt Tunnels later this year

I'm glad that they're just gonna take care of the issue now, instead of spending money to fix the ceiling they intended on getting rid of eventually.
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Gnutella

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Re: SW Pennsylvania
« Reply #73 on: May 16, 2014, 01:31:09 AM »

PennDOT to remove ceiling from Fort Pitt Tunnels later this year

I'm glad that they're just gonna take care of the issue now, instead of spending money to fix the ceiling they intended on getting rid of eventually.


Hopefully the "renovation" they allude to 10 years from now involves expansion of the tubes to handle three lanes each.
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Mr_Northside

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Re: SW Pennsylvania
« Reply #74 on: May 16, 2014, 02:28:56 PM »

Hopefully the "renovation" they allude to 10 years from now involves expansion of the tubes to handle three lanes each.

While it would be nice, I can't think of a safer bet on this planet than that that won't happen. 
Actually, if they're gonna do all of this ceiling business now, I'd like to think they could take care of enough other stuff that they won't need to do very much 10 years from now. 
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