KITTANNING – Improvements to the Route 28 corridor between Kittanning and Brookville were once again the focus of a year-long study spearheaded by the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission (SPC).

The Route 28 Corridor Study — completed by the SPC in conjunction with the Northwest Pennsylvania Commission; North Central Regional Planning and Development Commission; Armstrong, Clarion and Jefferson counties; and PennDOT District 10 — outlined 40 multimodal improvements for the 40-mile stretch of Route 28 that links Kittanning to the Interstate 80 exchange in Brookville.

“Overall, the study focuses on the importance of continuing to maintain the safe operation of Route 28 that will sustain the efficient movement of people and freight into and out of the region, and locally within the region,” SPC communications director Shannon O’Connell, SPC project manager Ryan Gordon and consultant project manager John Petulla said in a collaborative statement following last Tuesday’s release of the study’s findings. “The study provides a roadmap to identify [the] improvements, potential costs, and funding sources, as well as common improvements that can be implemented throughout each county.”

Initiated in December 2019, the Route 28 Corridor Study was a collaboration of the project steering committee — comprised of representatives from each county in the study limits, the regional planning entities and PennDOT. A major component of the committee’s in-person and virtual meetings over the past several months was to discuss questions and comments received from stakeholders and the general public regarding specific locations within the study limits

“The amount and willingness of the stakeholders and public feedback was really good and helped our team identify concern areas and develop transportation solutions for the corridor,” the SPC representatives said. They continued that one of the most surprising outcomes was the revelation that the corridor hosted such high truck traffic. “The study found that truck percentages are at approximately 15 percent, which is fairly high compared to the statewide averages for similar corridors.”

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According to the study results’ executive summary, the Route 28 corridor has been studied periodically through the years to “consider necessary safety and operational improvements, and its potential effect on the overall regional connection to the City of Pittsburgh.” For example, a 1994 study considered the possibility of making the 40-mile stretch of highway a four-lane at an estimated cost of $550 million. The current study could not justify widening the road given its probable inflated cost of $850 million and the potential community and environmental impacts such a project would incur.

Instead, the summary notes, the study addressed mobility concerns along Route 28 by “providing more practical improvements to support the region’s current and future transportation use.” Part of the list of 40 possible improvement concepts includes intersection realignments, roadway reconstruction, flattening of horizontal and vertical curves, trail safety enhancements, improved signage and delineation, and corridor-wide systematic uniform improvements consisting of advanced curve and intersection treatments, high friction pavement surfaces and lane departure warnings using center and edge line rumble strips.

“The identified improvements targeted increased safety for the traveling public through systematic and incremental improvements,” O’Connell, Gordon and Petulla said. “Transportation planners will begin to assess the funding and implementation of the projects proposed by the study’s mini transportation improvement program for the corridor.”

For more information on the project, or to view the study’s full final report, visit www.route28corridorstudy.com.

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