Plans outlined for more Southern Beltway work

Gideon Bradshaw
Observer Reporter

State turnpike officials and contractors they hired to build several miles of the Southern Beltway through Robinson Township shared details of their plans with residents on Wednesday.

“We do plan on starting most of our construction activity hard and heavy after the first of the year,” said John Nemmer, project manager for Trumbull Corp., during an informational meeting at Fort Cherry Golf Club.

“You may have seen some equipment, minor equipment …,” Nemmer added. “We’re doing some initial survey work, some initial clearing, just to get access to the job to get started now.”

The Turnpike Commission awarded Trumbull a roughly $116.2 million contract to build 2.7 miles of new toll road.

The completion date on the contract is in June 2021. Most of this section – which requires movement of more than three million cubic yards of earth – will be in Robinson, with the eastern portion stretching into neighboring Mt. Pleasant Township.

The project is part of ongoing work on a stretch of the Southern Beltway. Once completed, the 13-mile, $800 million highway will link Route 22 near Pittsburgh International Airport with Interstate 79 in South Fayette Township.

One of the first legs of the work for Trumbull is to build a temporary access road from Cooks Road to the McDonald Sportsmen’s Association. The turnpike acquired a portion of the high-end gun club’s land in a $5 million agreement earlier this year.

He said another “high-priority area to start here after the first of the year” is to install an acid-mine drainage system at an old coal mine in the highway’s path near Noblestown Road.

Two eight-span steel bridges over Johns Avenue and Noblestown Road are another major undertaking. Nemmer said construction on them will start early because they’re expected to take about two years.

Once Trumbull’s work is completed, a connector road near the gun club will link the turnpike with Route 980 to the north.

Nemmer said a 30-day closure is planned starting at some point in early March so the contractor can do the acid mine drainage work.

Details of closures and lane restrictions will be posted on the Turnpike Commission’s website as they become available.