For 35 years, the Mon Fayette Expressway has been part of the landscape leading into the Mon Valley. As funding became available, sections of the Mon/Fayette Expressway were completed creating the current 54 miles of expressway from I-68 near Morgantown, West Virginia, to Jefferson Hills Borough in Allegheny County.
With the passing of Act 89 in 2013, a funding stream was made available to move ahead with the next section of the Mon/Fayette Expressway.
"As a native of the Mon Valley, I'm excited to see the final leg of this project moving forward," said Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. Austin Davis. "This construction will support thousands of jobs right here in southwestern Pennsylvania."
To get started, the PTC created two phases of this project, south and north of the Monongahela River. The first phase, the southern section, will extend eight miles from PA Route 51 in Jefferson Hills Borough to PA Route 837 in Duquesne, Allegheny County.
“This southern phase alone is so massive that it needed to be divided into seven construction sections at an estimated cost of $1.3 billion,” said PA Turnpike Chair and Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) Secretary Mike Carroll. “But construction creates opportunity, and we expect that it will generate nearly $2.8 billion for the economy across the Mon Valley.”
The first construction section was awarded to Trumbull Corporation, whose field office is in Jefferson Hills Borough. Their crews have begun working on clearing trees and moving dirt, getting ready to build the three-mile section of expressway from PA Route 51 to Coal Valley Road.
The nearly $214 million contract will require Trumbull to excavate more than four million cubic yards of earth and build six bridges. Five of the bridges will be built as part of the mainline of the Mon/Fayette Expressway while the sixth will carry PA Route 885 over the expressway. A cashless toll point will also be built within this section.
“Beyond the obvious benefits of creating a safe, reliable and open roadway for easy travel, this project and others like it also create an opportunity for development in the area,” said Sen. James Brewster. “Just look at how the opening of the Southern Beltway has spurred commercial and industrial development in the airport corridor with the recent announcement of the Fort Cherry Development District. Once the Mon/Fayette Expressway is finished, it will do the same for the Mon Valley.”
The PA Turnpike was assigned responsibility to develop the Mon/Fayette Expressway — along with several other southwestern Pennsylvania toll roads — by an act of the state legislature in the mid-1980s.
“Act 61 of 1985 called upon the PTC to develop several significant transportation projects, the largest of which are the Southern Beltway and the Mon/Fayette Expressway,” said PA Turnpike Secretary-Treasurer Sean Logan. “Though construction was partially funded with the help of state tax dollars, the resulting miles of new highway are being operated and maintained by the PTC today without taxes.”
Logan said that Act 26 of 1991 elevated the priority of building the Southern Beltway and Mon/Fayette Expressway to improve highway access and mobility in the region. With the passage of Act 89 in 2013, a new funding stream was created to accelerate these projects.
The next Mon/Fayette construction contract is expected to go out for bid later this year. When construction of both the southern and northern sections of the PA Route 51 to I-376 Project is complete, the Mon/Fayette Expressway will allow traffic to travel 68 miles from Morgantown to Monroeville.