Saturday was the latest edition of the longest running road enthusiast meets. I’d like to thank all who traveled both near and far to attend the Winter 2007 SWPA Meet.
The meet began at 12 PM at Garfield’s in the Uniontown Mall on US 40 near the US 119 interchange. The food and conversation was excellent as always. I provided each attendee with a copy of the 2007 PennDOT map.
After the lunch portion, we headed down US 40 to see the new Brownsville Connector. We decided to make the Searights Toll House the first stop, and it’s best that we did. I noticed that one of the windows appeared to be open. Upon further examination, it wasn’t open. Rather someone had taken one of the bricks from the steps and smashed the window. In addition, there were rips and pulls in several placed in the screen on the screen door at the entrance. After calling 911, they informed me that the police would investigate and the proprietors would be notified.
The next stop was to see the new US 40 connector that just opened east of Brownsville. What struck the attendees of the 2006 gathering was the former partially constructed interchange just north of PA 166, where US 40 traffic would turn to continue, has been replaced with an at-grade intersection. Even though last year, we noticed grading for what appeared to be the other entrance/exit ramps had taken place which is noted on the US 40 page. Also, PA 166’s northern terminus has not moved to intersect the new US 40 alignment. The route still ends at the former intersection a block to the south. Grading at the future PA Turnpike 43 interchange, which is currently a temporary end until the loop around Brownsville opens, is complete.
On the way back to Uniontown, we took a small detour over a new connector road built between PA 51 and US 40. It will serve an interchange of PA Turnpike 43 and is five lanes wide (four travel lanes and a center turn lane). This roadway is located through the area where I attended the groundbreaking for the Uniontown/Brownsville section.
We took PA 43/PA Turnpike 43 south and stopped at the current end at Gans Road. Afterwards, we continued south into West Virginia to see how they are progressing on their section. From PA 857/WV Secondary 857, it is possible to see the bridge on the state line is complete. It includes a “Welcome to West Virginia” sign gantry. Turning off onto Morgan’s Run Road we had an up-close look at another pair of spans taking shape and saw a completed section of WV 43 with signage already installed. Back at 857 we continued south to the Cheat Lake interchange. There we saw the construction taking place in preparation of the directional “T” interchange between Interstate 68 and WV 43.
After turning around we headed back to Garfield’s. There we said our goodbyes, Merry Christmases, Happy New Years, and headed to our respective destinations after the Winter 2007 SWPA Meet.