Pennsylvania Turnpike holds community day on newly finished Southern Beltway

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission held a Community Day on Saturday to preview the newly constructed Southern Beltway, PA Turnpike 576.

The event, which opened a five-mile section between the McDonald/Midway (Exit 11) to South Fayette Way (Exit 16) exits of the roadway, allowed community members to walk or bike the new road and get a first-hand glimpse of the construction before it officially opens.

“The community itself has been asking to like maybe walk, bike on the roadway since we started this construction project. So we knew they wanted to and we accommodate as best we could because we still have construction going on,” Turnpike Commission spokesperson Renee Colborn said.

Stations were set up with informational material about the Southern Beltway and EZ Pass. Along the stretch, participants were also able to see one of the three toll points on the roadway, which will have an open-road tolling system that utilizes overhead gantries equipped with scanners and cameras to electronically charge toll road customers either via E-Z Pass accounts or the PA Toll By Plate program.

The road connects I-79 in Washington County to Pittsburgh International Airport.

The Southern Beltway officially opens Oct. 15 and has been under construction since 2014, and is expected to cut travel time to the airport in about half.

“We understand that it’s going to take a lot of traffic off the parkway west heading to the airport. That’s been a major benefit that we heard from all kinds of people in this area that they can’t wait to travel from 79 to the airport the whole way. It’s going to cut a lot of time out,” Colborn said.

Carrick resident Deyo Cayten, who participated in the event, said it is a good solution to the congestion on the turnpike.