The next section of the Mon-Fayette Expressway. (Jennifer Kundrach/Pittsburgh Union Progress)

After raising concerns about inflationary increases on two of the early contracts for construction of the Mon-Fayette Expressway, Pennsylvania Turnpike officials were happy with the contract it awarded for the next section of the project this week.

The turnpike commission Tuesday approved a $165.6 million contract with Trumbull Corp. to build the second section of the toll road from north of Coal Valley Road in Jefferson Hills to north of Camp Hollow Road near Curry Hollow Road in West Mifflin. Trumbull also has the $214 million contract to build the first section of the road, from Route 51 in Jefferson Hills to Coal Valley Road, that eventually will run to Route 837 in Duquesne.

Construction in this section will include removal of 3.7 million cubic yards of dirt and construction of five bridges. Work will last into summer 2027, but enough work will be done that the first two sections should open to traffic in fall 2026.

The project is being built from south to north, and sections can open when they are finished.

Chief engineer Brad Heigel said in an interview Wednesday that he was pleased the agency received four bids on the latest project and Trumbull’s bid actually was slightly lower than the agency’s projected cost. That’s important because the agency was concerned earlier this year about funding for the rest of the project when the first section of construction and the price of relocating a rail yard in Duquesne came in substantially higher than expected.

“Trumbull was just a little less than what our estimate was,” Heigel said. “We have seen a calming in costs since the beginning of the year, which is good for us.”

As a result, Heigel said, he expects to meet with commissioners and senior staff next month to discuss authorizing the beginning of final design for the next section, from Camp Hollow Road to Pittsburgh-McKeesport Boulevard in Dravosburg.

“We are closely looking at our funding,” Heigel said. “I’m fairly optimistic the next section is affordable for us. That’s good news.”

Final design is expected to take 12 to 18 months.

Construction on the first section has gone “remarkably well” with no surprises, Heigel said.

“Actually, knock on wood, it really has been very uneventful,” he said.

The expressway, which has been talked about since the 1960s, is paid for through the turnpike’s share of the state’s oil franchise tax, not turnpike tolls. The funds generated by that tax were cut substantially by reduced driving during the pandemic, which has not completely recovered, as well as less demand for gasoline because of increased efficiency of combustion engines and the growth of electric vehicles.

The final leg of the project, from Duquesne to the Parkway East in Monroeville, is on hold until the agency is convinced funds will be available.

“It’s really a challenge to continue what we do given the funding stream,” Heigel said. “The cost of construction continues to go up while the revenue goes down.”

Ed Blazina

Ed covers transportation at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but he's currently on strike. Email him at

Ed Blazina

Ed covers transportation at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but he's currently on strike. Email him at