Categories
Events News

Winter 2010 SWPA Meet

It has been three years since there was a holiday edition of the longest running road enthusiast meets in southwestern Pennsylvania.  That and the streak of Saturday-only meets came to an end today with the Winter 2010 SWPA Meet.  I’d like to thank all who traveled both near and far to attend.  They did so even with the snow falling in the area and the winter storm churning up the Eastern Seaboard.

The meet began at 12 PM at the Route 40 Classic Diner on what is now Business US 40 in Brownsville.  Food was good as well as the conversations.  My Maryland counterpart, Mike Pruett, brought a copy of an old trails guide book, a precursor to the modern road atlas, from the late 1920s for everyone to peruse.  I brought some recent Pennsylvania officials from 2006 to 2010 for anyone who needed to fill gaps in their collections.

Since these holiday meets are on a smaller scale than the ones during warmer months, the tour was not too extensive.  After lunch, we headed down Business US 40 into Brownsville for a taste of the old National Road and to check out the work on connecting PA Turnpike 43 to the PA 88 expressway in West Brownsville.  The new alignment, which leaves PA 88, is quite evident as swings east to cross the Monongahela River.  The former intersection of old and new PA 88 has been reconfigured to be a continual route through the future interchange.  This leaves up for debate whether or not PA 88 will be moved back to its former route into West Brownsville, or join with PA Turnpike 43 to US 40.

The cloverleaf at PA Turnpike 43 and US 40 is temporarily a partial one due to ongoing construction to upgrade the segment of PA 88 that will be incorporated into the Mon-Fayette Expressway.  The northbound lanes are being rebuilt and what is interesting is that the overhead gantry that was before the cloverleaf has been replaced with a blue, mono-tube gantry that is seemingly becoming standard on the Mon-Fayette.

Back across the Lane Bane Bridge, we picked up the old road and stopped at the Searights Toll House.  Unlike the last Winter SWPA Meet, there were no broken windows nor damaged screen doors to report.  It was good to see that a security system was installed as indicated by a sign by the entrance.  Here we said goodbye to half of the attendees and the rest of us continued east on US 40 to drive through the new PA Turnpike 43/US 119 stack interchange.  While we took the old route east, we took the new route back to bring the Winter 2010 SWPA Meet to an end saying our farewells, and headed to our respective destinations.

 
Categories
News

A Flyover Interchange Opens in Fayette County

The brisk morning of December 13 marked the beginning of the end for the long-awaited Uniontown-to-Brownsville section of the long-awaited Mon-Fayette Expressway.  It was then that the flyover interchange opens between PA Turnpike 43, US 119, and PA 51/Pittsburgh Street in Uniontown.

With the SWPA XMAS Meet a week away, I decided to make a trip to scout locations for the tour.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get there until dusk, so none of the pictures came out clearly enough to post.  The few that I did take, I was able to update the US 119 and PA Turnpike 43 Exit Guides.  The interchange itself is quite an impressive Semi-Directional “T,” with the diamond interchange with PA 51 underneath.  What is strange is that the ramp from US 119 northbound is only one lane.  It should be two since it is carrying the PA Turnpike 43 designation.

While both directions of US 119 have a diagramatical sign for this complex junction, the guide sign for Turnpike 43 heading southbound on US 119 has the control cities of Brownsville and Pittsburgh while northbound it is just Pittsburgh.

Diagramatical guide sign for the flyover interchange between PA Turnpike 43 and US 119
Guide sign on PA Turnpike 43 southbound approaching US 119.

As of now, there are no exit numbers for any of the interchanges between the Chadville Demonstration Project in South Uniontown and the new interchange at Pittsburgh Street.  Not surprising considering that there is only one PA Turnpike 43 marker on US 40 westbound/US 119 northbound.  It is located just before the Main Street interchange. While the US 40 and US 119 markers are posted together, the poor PA Turnpike 43 is by itself about 30 feet before the other two.  Poor PA Turnpike 43, ostracized by the black and white markers!  Heading southbound there is only one mention of PA Turnpike 43 on a pull-through sign at the Main Street interchange.  Then there is nothing until the 40/119 split.  Only then is it denoted as PA 43 which it has since that section was completed almost two decades ago.

While the flyover interchange opens, the segment from it to Exit 15 at Northgate Highway also opened to traffic Monday.  Northbound traffic exiting and southbound traffic entering at that interchange will have to pay a toll.

 
Advertisements