PennDOT Rolling Out Route 228 Ramps Project in Cranberry

The new ramps leading to I-79 are expected to increase traffic flow in the area.

You’ve seen the orange cones and the bulldozers moving around earth in the area for months, now PennDOT’s plans to add new northbound and southbound on-ramps leading from Route 228 to Interstate 79  are really about to “ramp up.”

“It’s going to result in more efficient travel through the area and less congestion,” said Mark Rozich, project manager for PennDOT District 10.

The $14.78 PennDOT project eliminates two turning movements from Route 228 to I-79, improving access for motorists.

Included in the construction are a new northbound on-ramp, a new southbound loop ramp and the reconstruction of the southbound off-ramp at the interchange of I-79 and Route 228.

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

When complete, there will be three eastbound lanes and three westbound lanes, plus auxiliary lanes, on Route 228 between Dutilh Road and Cranberry Woods Drive, Rozich said. Right now, there are two lanes in each direction in that area.

Since December, excavation work, including clearing trees and buildings from the area where the new ramps will be located, has been taking place off the shoulder of Route 228.

Only one structure, a former dental office on Mars Road, remains standing. PennDOT currently is using that building, formerly Cranberry Center Dental Services, as a field office.

While the earthwork has not affected motorists, the upcoming construction will.

Ramping Up

Phase 1 of the six-phase project begins Monday, March 11. Rozich said there would be lane restrictions taking place at night during the first phase while crews remove the median at the center of Route 228 and pave it in anticipation of shifting traffic of lanes during the project.

Traffic will go down to one lane in each direction between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. for at least a week, Rozich said. There will be flaggers or orange barrels in the area to help direct traffic. The lanes will fully reopen to traffic in the daylight.

“Pretty much anything on Route 228 affecting the traveling public is going to be done at night,” Rozich said.

McElroy Road, located off Route 228 near the Cranberry Crossroads retail center, also will be closed permanently to traffic as soon as possible, Rozich said. In its place, motorists will use the new Cranberry Springs Drive, which cuts through Cranberry Crossroads (home to the new Dick’s Sporting Goods) to connect with Mars Crider Road.  

The new ramps will be worked throughout the project, Rozich said. The construction of the ramps, which are located off Route 228 and I-79, are not expected to impact motorists.

Rozich did warn there would be about a month in Phase 5 of the project, which is tentatively set to take place in September, where only two lanes of Route 228 would be open to traffic at all times.

“That’s going to be a month of frustrating times for everyone on 228,” he said.

The targeted completion date for the new ramps is October 2014. Rozich said he hopes to have construction finished before that time.

Freedom Road Improvements

Improvements to Freedom Road also are being explored as part of the project.

Rozich said PennDOT plans to add an additional left turning lane from Freedom Road to Route 19 North, bringing the total number of lanes on Freedom Road where it intersects with Route 19 and Route 228 to five. Of those, two would be left turn lanes, two would be straight lanes connecting to Route 228 and one would be a right turn onto Route 19 South, Rozich said.

He added the project would be a small amount of work that results in a huge improvement at the intersection.

The new left turning lane for Freedom Road would begin near where the former Sheetz gas station and convenience store was located, he said.

Work on the Freedom Road lane addition could begin in late 2013, near the end of when construction is scheduled to be finished on the new ramps to I-79.

Swank Construction Company of New Kensington is performing the work.

What do you think of the planned traffic improvements? Tell us in the comment section below.

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Jeff Smith February 28, 2013 at 12:33 PM
Adam is right that Freedom Road is a state road and Mr Wood needs to complain to his state rep and state senator about his concerns. I think Mr. Andree has done an outstanding job running the township both from a day to day standpoint but especially from a long term standpoint and is one of the main reason for the success of the township. Cranberry is an outstanding community and I have lived in many other communities to compare.
Matt February 28, 2013 at 01:57 PM
James dean: the developer for the mall pulled out when the 50 million that was originally set aside to widen 228 and fix the ramps was uselessly dumped into the ever losing operating in the red Pittsburgh port authority.
James W. Wood March 02, 2013 at 01:34 PM
Jeff Smith .......Yes Adam is correct "that Freedom Road is a state road"! But the Township controls the growth in the community that over load the roads like Freedom Road that is headed to being 300 plus percent over capacity. So how do you blame the state for the traffic that the Township has placed on the state roads? I would say it is from poor planing on the part of the township and Freedom Road is the Poster Child of this poor Planing. The Township has way more control over state owned roads that run within the Township than people realize . The Township also controls the growth around those roads. You can confirm this information by calling Penn Dot at district 10. I do not remember seeing either of you at any of the township meetings in the past 6 years you should start attending them and then maybe you would have a different view of what goes on in Cranberry Township.
Jeff S March 12, 2013 at 03:00 AM
Freedom Rd is a huge problem. That new Sheetz location hasn't made it much better with traffic heading east and having to make the left in what amounts to a 2 car turn lane. Why didn't the Supervisors and Planning Commission ask Sheetz to put an entrance off Executive Dr so that when they do eventually widen the bridge they would have an adequate left turn lane for Sheetz traffic? Instead you have backed up traffic in the left through lane between the light at Executive and the Sheetz / Cranberry Mall lower level light. I guess they'd rather have the beautification of unusable green space instead of an adequate road system on Freedom.
Mark May 28, 2013 at 08:58 PM
So much for getting off southbound 79 onto 228 west. Now you will have to watch the traffic that will be turning right onto 79 plus not having any improvement to get on 228 west. Actually this degraded an already unsafe situation by shortening the available road space, but not reducing traffic or allowing any space to enter.


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