The Mon/Fayette Expressway, Turnpike 43, Uniontown to Brownsville project, was honored with a National Recognition Award in the American Council of Engineering Companies 2014 Engineering Excellence Awards (EEA) competition. This annual competition recognizes engineering firms for projects that demonstrate an exceptional degree of innovation, complexity, achievement, and value. Gannett Fleming served as design manager of the Pennsylvania-based project, working with the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission.
Completed in 2012, the 17-mile expressway is a model for limited access highway and bridge construction. Designed to relieve congestion and improve safety, it provides an alternate route to U.S. Route 40, the National Road, which was the first major U.S. highway. While the historic thoroughfare offered access to significant historic landmarks and the area's impressive viewsheds, the two-lane roadway generated accident and fatality rates greater than Pennsylvania's average for similar roadways. Steep grades and limited sight distances caused by the challenging topography resulted in hazards for motorists on the National Road, which itself could not be upgraded or improved without threatening its historical integrity.
With the preservation of the historic road's viewshed and landmarks of utmost importance, the new tolled expressway was constructed parallel to the National Road. Although the expressway is at no point more than one mile away from U.S. Route 40, the new road was carefully placed to avoid interference with the views enjoyed by travelers.
Posing additional challenges was the mined Pittsburgh Coal Seam, which lies below the expressway. Extra care and innovative solutions were required for the design and construction of bridge foundations for the 37 structures along the corridor to prevent subsidence induced by the significant mine voids found within the seam. As design manager, Gannett Fleming was instrumental in facilitating the development of economical solutions to meet these challenges.
Since the completion of the new roadway, motorists have a safer, more expedient travel option. The expressway allows for more efficient transportation of goods, curtails fuel consumption, and reduces vehicle wear-and-tear, saving money for individuals and corporations alike. Emergency services can arrive at their destination faster, creating a safer community. U.S. Route 40 is no longer a major transportation artery in the region; it is now primarily a local traffic corridor and tourist destination.
The award was presented at the EEA Gala, held on April 29, 2014, in Washington, D.C.