After years of planning, PennDOT is set to begin work to add ramps on the northern side of Route 228 in Cranberry that will link the highway directly to Interstate-79 in all directions, resulting in more green time for through traffic.
Currently, westbound drivers on Route 228 who want to get onto I-79 in either direction must turn left across traffic to get onto the Interstate’s onramps. While they’re making those lefts, the through traffic on 228 is held back waiting—resulting in a traffic tangle.
Jason Kratsas, Cranberry’s director of engineering, said work should begin on the $25 million PennDOT project in the next several months.
No lanes on Route 228 will be shut down during the construction, he said. PennDOT also will do most of the work at night when there is less traffic on the road, said Mark Rozich, project manager for PennDOT District 10.
“We’re trying to do the shortest time frame we can to try to make it as efficient and cost effective as we can,” he said.
Rozich, who detailed the plans for the highway at Thursday’s Cranberry Board of Supervisors meeting, said the project should take about two years to complete.
“It shouldn’t impact traffic too much out there,” he said. “There’s two years of a lot of commotion going on, but we’re trying to minimize that.”
Rozich also spoke of PennDOT’s plans to add an additional left turning lane to Freedom Road and another to Route 228 where the highways intersect at Route 19. The dual left turning lanes should go a long way toward easing the flow of traffic at the intersection, according to Rozich.
“It should make a huge improvement for a small amount of work that’s going to be done,” he said.
Rozich said the new left turning lane for Freedom Road would begin near the current Sheetz gas station and convenience store, which will soon be vacant.
A new Sheetz store and gas station is now under construction on Freedom Road about 300 feet from the current facility. When the new building is complete, Sheetz will move out of its current location.
Rozich said the PennDOT project is estimated to cost about $1.75 million.
Kratsas said work on the lane additions could begin in late 2013, near the end of when construction is scheduled to be finished on the new ramps to I-79.
What do you think of the planned improvements to Route 228 and Freedom Road? Are you hopeful it will ease traffic? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.