The interchange, however, was never very good at accommodating the high-speed traffic it attracted. For 60 years, the fire department has responded to countless [and many times deadly] interstate vehicle accidents. Early on, for decades, there wasn't even a medial barrier between the four traffic lanes! Traffic volume, outdated acceleration and de-acceleration lanes and the lack of a full cloverleaf has confounded drivers, compromised safety and just fallen into disrepair. It has simply reached the end of it's life-span and no longer meets current interstate standards.
Hence, as part of a larger, total PA I-70 overhaul, the interchange has been completely re-engineered and moved 1/4 mile west. Longer on and off ramps now culminate in two 'round-abouts,' three new bridges are done and several local streets have been widened, sidewalks and interchange lighting installed and two new signals now control traffic flow. Final 'clean-up' work remains.
The new interchange has, however, increased our normal response times to points west, north into Youngwood, east and west onto the PA Turnpike and south to Mt. Pleasant as we now have to travel further [about 1/2 mile] and navigate round-a-bouts and traffic lights in the process. The new traffic lights have emergency siren recognition technology, changing to green for quicker responses.
We struggled with the usual construction headaches and are excited the final six lanes are open. It provides a much safer traveling environment and may ultimately become a model for other interchanges. We dealt with the construction challenges with: new response assignments, integrating the construction company safety officer into our smart-phone dispatching system, staffing a temporary, 'south-side' station [now closed] and pre-planning for construction-related responses.
As you travel through town, slow down in any remaining construction zones and be aware of changing traffic patterns until all the dust settles. The last major portion of the project has finished about 11 months ahead of schedule as of November 2017, which is great news. The new interchange opened in February and all six lanes are now open as well.
Check out how to navigate through a round-a-bout by viewing the Penn DOT video:
There, you will find some pretty neat project videos [finished annimations], maps and updates. Below are some construction update photos, how New Stanton looked in 1955, before I-70 existed [the elementary school is no longer there either] and four short videos. These are large video files; be patient! You may also want to view a longer video from 1955 on our About Us page to see the town before I-70 was constructed. Here's some things we've discovered about the finished project:
1. There is insufficient room in the round-a-bouts and on the interconnecting roadway berms for vehicles to pull over, whether for a breakdown or to yield to emergency vehicles.
2. The inner concrete "run over area" for tractor trailers has no visual contrast with the existing road surface, confusing drivers and causing them to drive straight ahead and not in a circular motion.
3. Modern LED lighting does not seem to be installed.
New Stanton Volunteer Fire Department
New Stanton Volunteer Fire Department Relief Association
Westmoreland County, PA
Ribbon-cutting ceremony held, Nov. 21.
All six lanes opened Weds., Nov. 22, 2017!
Interstate 70 [I -70] has been part of the New Stanton community since about 1957 when the four-lane 'super highway' bisected the small village [then part of Hempfield Twp.], taking five lots from the fire department in the process. The road connects the New Stanton exit of the PA Turnpike (exit 75) to points west.The village 'lost' it's small-town identity and slowly became the gas station, hotel, motel and restaurant mecca it is known for today.
Getting Ready for New Concrete, Looking East, Oct. 2017
New Stanton without I-70, Apr. 1955
East Bound Concrete Pouring, Lane 3, Oct. 17, 2017
Original interchange before construction began, Sept. 2015
Original interchange during construction, Aug. 2016