State Routes 51 and 88 articles

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State Route 51 (Saw Mill Run Boulevard) and State Route 88 (Library Road) is located in the heart of Overbrook. It is one of the most congested intersections in the area. Improvements have been consistantly promised but never carried out. This is an article from November, 1963, the time of President John F. Kennedy's assasination. The intersection is basically the same as it was designed in the 1930s.

*Routes 51 and 88

Overbrook Routes 51 and 88 1930.jpg

88 and 51 article.jpg

Most Recent article on this intersection by Joe Grata of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Post-Gazette Link

Interchange at routes 51, 88 put on hold

Saturday, November 01, 2008

By Joe Grata, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Once-ambitious plans to create a grade-separated interchange to unclog the busy Route 51-88 intersection in Overbrook have been shelved.

"We're looking at a conservative improvement," Pennsylvania Department of Transportation District 11 Executive Dan Cessna said this week.

Engineers are looking at shoring up five bridges -- more like tunnels -- that are largely out of sight, out of mind to motorists. They support parts of the intersecting roads over two streams that merge into Saw Mill Run beneath the intersection.

PennDOT also is exploring the benefits of adding a lane on Route 51 and making minor modifications.

The intersection has eight legs where five local streets -- Glenbury, Ivyglen, Hillview and Maytide streets and Stewart Avenue -- converge with Route 51, Route 88 and one end of the Port Authority's South Busway. The transit agency abandoned proposals a number of years ago to extend the busway to Route 51 south of the busway so buses could avoid the rush-hour congestion.

In August 2004, PennDOT was to have held the first public meeting in 11 years about proposed improvements at Route 51-88, but the District 11 executive at the time said they were too expensive and that engineers needed more time to prepare.

PennDOT had been talking about an estimated $50 million project, including a grade-separated interchange similar to the one it built at the south end of the Liberty Tunnels in the 1990s.

Improvement plans go back about 25 years, making it one of the oldest projects on PennDOT's books. While money is programmed and being spent for design that is under way again, Mr. Cessna said construction funds have not yet been set up.

Consequently, motorists likely will have to put up with the notorious South Hills bottleneck for a while before three to four years of phased construction get under way.

Joe Grata can be reached at or 412-263-1985. First published on November 1, 2008 at 12:01 am