Construction will begin this week on the last link of the Pennsylvania Turnpike’s Southern Beltway, a highway that will make it easier to access Pittsburgh International Airport.
Once completed, the highway will essentially connect the airport to Interstate 79 and help relieve traffic on the congested Parkway West. The roadway is expected to open to traffic in 2021 when the major connections between I-79 and the toll road are finished, though it could take longer to fully complete the interchange, turnpike officials said.
The Southern Beltway, otherwise known as Route 576, will create a direct link between the Southpointe business park and the airport to about 15 minutes.
Airport officials said the link will not only help passengers get to the airport more quickly and efficiently, but also spur real estate development in the area.
Southpointe, a multi-use development in Washington County, “is bursting at the seams,” said David Storer, PIT’s manager of Real Estate Development. “Everyone is looking for the next place to go. The Southern Beltway will help make the airport corridor the next place to go.”
The first portion of the Southern Beltway – dubbed the Findlay Connector – opened in 2006 and connected the airport to Route 22. The current phase is connecting Route 22 to I-79; in all, that’s about 19 miles of highway.
The completion will nearly coincide with the opening of a new terminal at Pittsburgh International in 2023, as well as the first developments on the 195-acre Pittsburgh Airport Innovation Campus.
“We think the pieces are in place to really make an impact for the region and really maximize the airport as a development tool and job creator for Western Pennsylvania,” said Vince Gastgeb, the airport’s vice president of government and community affairs.
Read more about the Southern Beltway project.