Southern Beltway interchange project discussed at Southpointe

Katie Anderson
Observer Reporter

Construction will begin next week on a new portion of the Southern Beltway project in Cecil and South Fayette townships.

Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission officials and project contractors met with residents Tuesday night to discuss the new construction of the new State Route 0576, which will affect portions of Interstate 79, Morgan Road, County Line road, Cecil-Henderson road and Southpointe Boulevard.

The $174.3 million contract was awarded to Chicago-based Walsh Construction Co. They’ve worked with PennDOT and the Turnpike Commission in the past.

“We have a strong presence in Pennsylvania,” said Walsh’s project manager Chuck Zugell, who was at the open house Tuesday to answer questions. “We are fully on board with working with the community and the Turnpike Commission on this project.”

Zugell said this portion of the Beltway project will consist of a lot of earth work, as they anticipate six million cubic yards of excavation. Most of that is due to the interchange between I-576 and I-79, with I-576 running underneath I-79.

Renee Colborn, public information manager for the Turnpike Commission, said the interchange was the biggest part of this section of the project. She said residents could see equipment moving in and utility work being done as early as next week.

“They’ve been working through the weather, so we don’t anticipate any problems,” Colborn said.

The 13-mile, $800 million project will connect Route 22 near the Pittsburgh International Airport to the I-79 interchange. The new I-576 will also have a half interchange with Morganza Road, where it ends just north of Cecil-Henderson Road.

John Dzurko, project manager with the turnpike commission, said the project will include the partial reconstruction and widening of the I-79 bridge over Cecil-Henderson Road.

The project will also include the widening of a bridge over Southpointe Boulevard, the construction of a bridge over the ramp from I-79 northbound to I-576 westbound, a drainage culvert, a retaining wall along I-79 and a decorative wall at the National Cemetery of the Alleghenies.

Ronald Hestdalen, director of the cemetery, attended the meeting and said the commission and the contractors have been “accommodating.”

“There have been no interruptions to services and it’s been business as usual,” he said. “They’ve worked with us very well.”

The cemetery sits along I-79 between County Line Road and Morgan Road, which has been closed for construction since November. The detour for cemetery traffic is County Line Road, but that will change by the end of the year, Dzurko said.

He said the goal is to have Morgan Road reopen by November, and to permanently close a portion of County Line Road and put in a cul-de-sac near I-576. Dzurko said most of the homes in that area of County Line Road have already been demolished.

Maps of the project can be found at