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Here’s What’s Going on with Route 228 Construction

Cranberry Patch has the lowdown on the major roadwork planned for the highway—get ready!

There are a lot of orange cones around Cranberry lately, particularly on Route 228.

With that in mind, and for your smooth commuting pleasure, here is a breakdown of the current and upcoming construction projects, including the bridge replacement in Adams Township and the new onramps leading from the highway to Interstate 79.

Mars Railroad Bridge Replacement Project

Earlier this week, PennDOT began replacing the two-lane bridge carrying Route 228 over the CSX/B&O Railroad with a new five-lane edifice. According to PennDOT, the current bridge, which was built in 1961, is structurally deficient.

It carries about 16,122 vehicles per day on it, according to PennDOT. There also will be improvements at the intersection of Route 228 and Mars-Valencia Road and a culvert extension over Breakneck Creek south of Mars Borough in Adams Township. The project is expected to cost about $12.64 million.

How it affects you: Traffic impacts will include nighttime lane restrictions and alternating traffic when necessary. Varying width restrictions may be in place at times throughout the project. 

Work is expected to be complete by September 2014.

Route 228 Paving

As part of the bridge replacement project, nighttime paving begins at 8 p.m. Monday, Sept. 24 and will continue through 6 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 25. Don't worry, no paving will occur during the day. Nighttime paving may also take place Tuesday and Wednesday evenings if necessary. 

The work also includes a two-foot temporary widening of the existing Route 228 eastbound shoulder for about 2,200 feet beginning near the east side of the Mars Railroad Bridge over the railroad tracks. It ends just beyond the car wash, according to PennDOT.

How it affects you: Flaggers will be in place during the paving operations. Motorists are urged to slow down, minimize distractions and to obey the flaggers.

New On-Ramps to I-79

Get ready. PennDOT is poised to begin construction on new northbound and southbound onramps leading from Route 228 to Interstate 79

Currently, westbound drivers on Route 228 who want to get on I-79 must turn left across oncoming 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.

By adding the new ramps, the hope is there will be more green time for drivers.

Jason Kratsas, Cranberry’s director of engineering, said work should begin on the $25 million PennDOT project in early October. A preconstruction meeting is scheduled for the first day of next month.

“Then they can really cut loose on the project,” Kratsas said.

Earlier this year, triple left-turn lanes were added leading out of the Cranberry Woods business park onto Route 228. While the lanes are built, Kratsas said they would not be fully operational until the ramps project is complete.

How it affects you: Although they may be narrowed, all lanes on Route 228 will remain open during the construction, Kratsas said. PennDOT also will do most of the work at night when there is less traffic on the road.

Kratsas said construction is expected to last about 18 months.

Cranberry Springs Drive at Cranberry Crossroads

Motorists may have noticed the new traffic signals at the intersection of Route 228 with Cranberry Springs Drive, the road cutting through the still-under-construction Cranberry Crossroads shopping and office complex.

Although Cranberry Springs Drive is still closed (except to construction and service workers) the signal at the intersection with Route 228 is operational.

Cranberry Springs Drive also will intersect a new extension of the service road that parallels Route 228 behind Cranberry Commons. The road then continues north to Mars Road.

New turning lanes also are being added to Route 228 for traffic approaching the Cranberry Springs Drive intersection from both directions. To tie into the ramp project, new westbound thru lanes also are being built between Cranberry Springs Drive and I-79.

Road Bonus—Heights Drive Opens Next Week!

OK, so it’s not Route 228, but a much-anticipated new road is opening soon in Cranberry. After ten years in the making—plus one extensive study to make sure endangered massasauga rattlesnakes weren’t calling the area home—Heights Drive is expected to open next week, Kratsas said.

The 1,900 foot road will provide a direct route from Route 19 to the Cranberry Heights neighborhood. Currently, homeowners must travel the narrow and winding Bear Run Road to access the highway. To learn more about the history of the project, click here.

Susan Githens Cable September 20, 2012 at 01:42 PM
Thank you!
Jessica Sinichak September 20, 2012 at 02:35 PM
No problem, Susan! Ruthanne and Jess, I'm working to find out the answers to your questions!
John September 20, 2012 at 03:33 PM
@Ruthanne, several years ago (possibly 10 or more) PennDOT had done several studies along those lines. They were part of the initial RT228 improvement project. One of those studies actually did involve replacing RT228 with a 4 lane interstate spur (at the time it was presumed to become I-779). It would have began its parent route I-79 at a much more complex version of the current "Cranberry Connector" interchange, and ended just north of the RT228 East traffic light in Glade Mills. That plan however, was scrapped because of too much NIMBYer backlash. While I applaud the efforts of Cranberry Twp and PennDOT for making many improvements to RT228 in Cranberry, as a resident of Adams Twp it would be nice if PennDOT spent some money here, and widened 228 from Franklin Road to RT8 someday before I pass away.
Jessica Sinichak September 20, 2012 at 06:28 PM
@Jessica and @Ruthanne, here are the answers to your questions courtesy of township manager Jerry Andree! @Jess, although the township has looked extensively at adding a left turn arrow from Freedom Road at the entrance to the Cranberry Mall, it ultimately was decided that it would tie up eastbound traffic on Freedom Road too much. In other words, no plans for an arrow! @Ruthanne, no plans for an overhead highway from Route 228 to the residential and business areas. The township manager pointed out there are two roads that run parallel to Route 228 on each side of the highway with access to homes and business. With that said, there IS a plan to build an underpass under Route 228 that will unite the south side of Route 228 with the north side and allow motorists to access businesses etc. without having to get on Route 228. Construction on this project (a partnership between Cranberry and local businesses) is expected to start within the next two years. Hope that helps!
Mr. Pam John September 21, 2012 at 03:16 AM
What about a red light at Beaver Street Ext and 228?

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