PennDOT Receives Regional AASHTO Awards for Fern Hollow Bridge and Interchanges

July 25, 2023
Awards were won in the categories of "Operations Excellence" and "Best Use of Technology".

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) recently announced that it was a recipient of a regional America's Transportation Award from the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO).

PennDOT was recognized for its efforts to replace the collapsed Fern Hollow Bridge in Pittsburgh, and for the planning and construction of specialized high-traffic intersections in Westmoreland County. Awards were won in the categories of "Operations Excellence" and "Best Use of Technology," respectively.

In January 2022, Pittsburgh's Fern Hollow Bridge collapsed, severing an important connection between Pittsburgh neighborhoods and adjacent Edgewood and Wilkinsburg communities, and disrupting public transit, emergency and school travel. A team consisting of PennDOT, the city of Pittsburg and FHWA expedited  the construction process to open traffic just 11 months later. 

"The Fern Hollow replacement represents some of the most impressive and demanding work the department has done," said PennDOT Secretary Mike Carroll. "I am proud to have AASHTO recognize the excellence of our team and its efforts in the community."

The replacement bridge also incorporated measures to improve bike and pedestrian accessibility with the inclusion of a shared use path and sidewalk access. 

In Westmoreland County, the design of the I-70 Yukon and Madison interchanges were impeding safe travel. PennDOT's redesign of the interchanges included a reconstruction project of nearly four miles of roadway on I-70 to widen the median and shoulders, rebuilding of the interchanges at Exits 53 and 54 by lengthening the ramp acceleration and deceleration lanes and providing an eastbound auxiliary lane between the two interchanges. 

"Data collection and collaboration with local stakeholders to determine where the need is greatest is imperative to good design," said Carroll. "In Westmoreland County, we were able to create a safer system of interchanges and lanes to support the area's growing communities and commerce."

The interchange project is part of the ongoing I-70 Interstate modernization initiative.

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Source: The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation