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Groundbreaking held for next phase of Southern Beltway project

The groundbreaking ceremony was held Monday for the next phase of the Southern Beltway project. Route 43 will eventually be connected from Jefferson Hills to Duquesne and then Monroeville.

Senator Jim Brewster says time is money. That’s why he’s been advocating for the Mon-Fayette Expressway, also known as Route 43, for decades. Even before Lt. Governor Austin Davis was born!

“When this is done, you can get to Monroeville in 10 minutes. Right now, it’s 45 minutes,” Sen. Jim Brewster (D- Allegheny, Westmoreland Counties) tells Channel 11.

“I remember my parents talking about how this was going to revitalize our community,” Lt. Gov. Austin Davis adds. “It’s been a long road to get here.”

A decades-long road in fact. That’s why so many elected officials and leaders with the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission came to the groundbreaking. They tell Channel 11 this is about connecting our communities in Western Pennsylvania to each other and to neighboring states.

“That’s going to open a lot of opportunities for a lot of folks,” Sen. Jay Costa (D- Allegheny) said. There is a great opportunity to revitalize a lot of communities.”

The Turnpike Commission said the next phase of the project will be about five years of construction.

“The first section which you see right now has been under construction for about four months,” Kevin Scheurich, the Asst. Chief Engineer for Design for the PA Turnpike Commission said. “That will be done sometime in the 2027 time frame. Then we’ll work our way up to Duquesne.”

The northern phase to Duquesne and eventually to Monroeville and maybe even the city of Pittsburgh one day, might come with some major bumps in the road.

“We do have a declining revenue source,” Scheurich adds. “Inflation has played a key in some of our construction projects. Our whole capital plan is 37% over last year.”

This next phase from Jefferson Hills to Duquesne comes with a $1.3-billion-dollar price tag, funded by the oil franchise tax which includes registration fees. As for when the entire project will be complete, Senator Brewster says it will still be decades to go.

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