PennDOT Proclaims Plans for Tolls on I-79 Bridge south of Pittsburgh

HARRISBURG, PA. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) on Thursday announced plans to replace and charge fees for nine interstate bridges across the state.

One of the suggested bridges for tolls is Interstate 79 on State Route 50 in Bridgeville.

This section of I-79 is traveled to Pittsburgh by many West Virginians. The eight other bridges listed in the proposal are located in other regions of Pennsylvania on I-78, I-80, I-81, I-83, and I-95.

The proposal is part of PennDOT’s Pathways Major Bridge Public-Private Partnership (P3) initiative.

“Our reliance on funding models from the last century makes us particularly vulnerable to funding losses due to volatile economic conditions and the increasing transition to alternative fuels or electric vehicles,” said PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian. “This initiative will help us make much-needed improvements without disrupting the routine projects that our communities and industrial partners rely on.”

The tolls are only collected electronically and collected using an E-ZPass or license plate billing. The funds received from the toll would flow back to the bridge, where the toll is collected, to finance the construction, maintenance and operation of that bridge, according to a press release.

Mountain State drivers can also obtain an E-ZPass from the West Virginia Parkways Authority and use it in Pennsylvania and other states.

No details were released about what the tolls would be.

Over the next year, PennDOT will evaluate these candidate bridges using individual environmental documents that will be created or re-evaluated for each bridge.

The proposed Bridgeville project will replace the main north and south bridges built in 1965 and renovated in 1998 on I-79 via SR-50. The project also includes expanding I-79 from two to three lanes in each direction and extending it from Alpine Road north of SR-50 and Chartiers Creek to just before Collier Interchange and Prestley Road in Bridgeville, Allegheny County. According to PennDOT officials, the I-79 corridor carries an average of 87,000 vehicles a day, of which around 12 percent are in truck traffic.

Construction could start as early as 2023.

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