Pennsylvania Route 576
|Pittsburgh Southern Beltway
Map of the route as it exists currently
|Maintained by PTC|
|Length:||6.5 mi (10.5 km)|
|Existed:||October 11, 2006 – present|
|West end:||I-376 in Findlay Township|
|US 30 in Findlay Township|
|US 22 in Robinson Township|
Pennsylvania Route 576 (PA 576), the Southern Beltway, is a partially completed highway in the southern suburbs of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States. Upon completion it will serve as a southern beltway around the metro Pittsburgh area from the Pittsburgh International Airport to the historic Steel Valley of the Monongahela River.
The first section of the highway from Interstate 376 (former PA 60) near Pittsburgh International Airport to U.S. Route 22 opened on October 11, 2006 at 3 p.m. Construction on a segment of the beltway that will link US 22 to I-79 near the National Cemetery of the Alleghenies will break ground in Spring 2014 and planned for a 2019 opening, while the final segment from I-79 to PA Turnpike 43 is pending. Federal approval has been given for both segments. Although PA 576 runs north–south between I-376 and US 22, the route is signed as east–west to reflect the routing that the completed beltway will take; PA 576 will begin to have a more general east–west routing when the second leg to I-79 opens in 2019.
Like the Mon–Fayette Expressway, the Southern Beltway will have no direct connection to the Pennsylvania Turnpike's mainline despite being built and maintained by the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission. (Both the tolled section of Interstate 376 and the tolled section of PA 66 as well as the Northeast Extension have direct connections to the Turnpike's mainline.) Both highways, however, will have indirect connections with the Turnpike's mainline via I-376.
PA 576 begins at an interchange with I-376 at the entrance to Pittsburgh International Airport. The interchange is defined as exit 1 of PA 576. Although the road is signed as east–west, it has a north–south alignment. This is because when it is complete to PA Turnpike 43, it will be more east–west. Paradoxically, the eastbound direction (from US 22 to the airport) is signed as westbound and the westbound direction (from the airport to US 22) is called eastbound.
PA 576 has ramp toll plazas located at the eastbound exit and westbound entrances at exits 2, 4, and 6. All toll plazas are equipped with an electronic fare collection system (E-ZPass) and for cash customers, a dual-height, automated machine for toll collection. As of 2014, the ramp tolls cost $0.75 using cash and $0.63 using E-ZPass for passenger vehicles.
When the Southern Beltway is completed around Pittsburgh, it will be signed as Interstate 576. I-576 was also to apply to the northeastern branch of the Mon–Fayette Expressway that will extend to Monroeville, however due to funding limitations one of the northern legs of the Mon–Fayette Expressway is expected to be canceled, likely leaving I-576's eastern terminus at its junction at the Mon–Fayette Expressway instead. Both the Southern Beltway and the Mon–Fayette Expressway are being built to Interstate standards just for such a designation, though the majority of the Mon–Fayette Expressway is signed as PA Turnpike 43, PA 43, or WV 43.
On December 21, 2012, the PTC announced that sections between US 22 and I-79 will proceed, with completion projected to occur sometime in 2020. The section of the route between US 22 and I-79 will be the first part of the Pennsylvania Turnpike System to implement all-electronic tolling. On November 25, 2013, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett signed a transportation bill into law that will raise vehicle registration fees and uncap the oil tax cap in order to fund transportation projects in the state. The new bill is expected to provide funding to complete the Southern Beltway all the way to the Mon–Fayette Expressway and provide a little less than half of the $2.2 billion (as of December 2013) needed to complete the Mon–Fayette Expressway. The second leg of the Southern Beltway will be the first project completed with the new funding available for both the Southern Beltway and the Mon–Fayette Expressway. On January 13th, 2014, the PTC awarded two contracts for the project and announced a ground breaking set for Spring 2014, with an anticipated completion date of 2019, a year ahead of the original schedule. Increased activity in the Marcellus Formation, which was just beginning whenever the Findlay Connector opened in 2006, helped expedite the earlier opening date for the second section of the Southern Beltway. Construction started on February 17th, 2014, with rock blasting on the unbuilt end of the US 22 interchange in order to begin building the bridge to carry the Southern Beltway over US 22.
Currently, four exits are open along PA 576.
|Allegheny||Findlay Township||0.0||0.0||1A-B||I-376 – Beaver, Pittsburgh, Airport||Western terminus of highway. Direct entrance into Pittsburgh International Airport|
|0.4||0.6||2||US 30 (Lincoln Highway) – Clinton, Imperial||Toll plaza for motorists entering westbound and exiting eastbound|
|2.7||4.3||4||Westport Road (formerly Santiago-Bavington)||Toll plaza for motorists entering westbound and exiting eastbound|
|Washington||Robinson Township||4.2||6.8||6||US 22 – Pittsburgh, Weirton, WV||Toll plaza for motorists entering westbound and exiting eastbound; temporary eastern terminus of highway until 2019.|
|9||Beech Hollow Road|
|11||Access to McDonald and Pennsylvania Route 980.|
|Allegheny||South Fayette Township||16||PA 50|
|Washington||Cecil Township||18||I-79||Will be temporary eastern terminus once the second leg is constructed.|
|1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi
- "Construction Guide, 10/15/2006". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. October 15, 2006. Retrieved 2006-11-13.
- Construction on Southern Beltway set for spring Beaver County Times (01/14/2014)
- Phase II Of Southern Beltway Underway KDKA-TV (01/14/2014)
- "PA Turnpike News Release". Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission. Retrieved 2006-11-13.
- 2014 Toll Schedule. Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission. 2014. Retrieved January 7, 2014.
- "Mon/Fayette Expressway and Southern Beltway projects: PA Route 60 to U.S. Route 22". Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission. Retrieved 2007-09-21.
- "Fall Construction Start Eyed For the First Branch of the Southern Beltway, Page 10" (PDF). Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission. Retrieved 2007-09-21.
- Pa. transportation bill may breathe life into Mon-Fayette Expressway project Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (12/09/2013)
- Gillooly, Amanda. (2012-12-21) Turnpike Commission to Proceed With Beltway Project, Lawmakers Laud the Move - Government - Canon-McMillan, PA Patch. Canon-mcmillan.patch.com. Retrieved on 2013-07-23.
- Schmitz, Jon (December 21, 2012). "Turnpike commission restores plan for Southern Beltway". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved December 28, 2012.
- Tom Corbett signs $2.3 billion Pa. transportation bill Politico via Associated Press (11/26/2013)
- Hope rises for Mon-Fayette Expressway, Southern Beltway. TribLIVE (2013-05-21). Retrieved on 2013-07-23.
- Construction to begin on Southern Beltway corridor Washington Observer-Reporter (01/13/2014)
- Daytime Traffic Stoppages to Impact Travel in Robinson Township, Washington County Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (02/12/2014)
- "Toll/Mileage Calculator". Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission. Retrieved 2008-01-11.
- U.S. Route 22 to I-79 - Project Map Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission
- PA Turnpike Construction - Mon/Fayette & Southern Beltway Projects
- Pennsylvania Highways: PA Turnpike 576
- Interstate 576 Pennsylvania @ Interstate-Guide.com
- Pennsylvania Highways - Pennsylvania Route 576 Exit Guide