Phase: Planned
Location: Westmoreland County
Anticipated cost: 2.5 million

Project Schedule

Preliminary Design:
Environmental Clearance:
Right-of-way Acquisition:
Final Design:

Project Overview

PennDOT District 12 will complete a PEL (Planning and Environmental Linkages) study to improve the I-70/Route 201 Interchange area. The study area will include the interchange, 1.17 miles of Route 201 between the intersection of Route 201 and Route 3013 (Vance DeCais Highway) to the Washington/Westmoreland county line, and 5.6 miles of I-70 in North Belle Vernon and Rostraver Township, Westmoreland County.

Previously, it was thought that a new interchange would be cost prohibitive, and the anticipated right-of-way needs for this project might negatively affect local businesses. The neighboring railroad overpass could also present challenges that might increase costs.

However, through recent research and innovation, it may be possible to construct a new interchange in a much more cost-effective manner utilizing new interchange configurations and/or make other innovative improvements to reduce congestion and increase safety.

Project Mapping

View project mapping to learn more details about this area.

PennDOT Contact

Name: Gary V. Ferrari, Jr.
Organization: PennDOT District 12-0
Title: Project Manager
Phone: 724-439-7156

What is PEL?

The PEL approach will determine the most efficient and cost-effective solution. It will benefit the project to minimize the duplication of efforts with early consultation among all agencies. The benefit of having enhanced community involvement while also incorporating the Department’s PennDOT Connects approach will provide a more inclusive project. Due to the location and potential project effects, the PEL approach will help engage partner agencies and the local community to gather meaningful input to assist in the identification of future improvements.

  • PEL represents a collaborative and integrated approach to transportation decision-making that considers benefits and impacts of proposed transportation system improvements to the environment, community, and economy during the transportation planning process.
  • PEL assists project delivery. Agencies can agree to a project’s Purpose and Need, define the preliminary range of alternatives, eliminate unreasonable alternatives, and begin public involvement and documentation of planning decisions through PEL.
  • PEL is flexible. Practitioners can use a variety of authorities to implement PEL in a way that meets their individual needs.

Benefits include:

Minimize duplication of efforts

A PEL approach improves information sharing and early consultation among PennDOT, Federal agencies, and resource agencies, resulting in reduced or eliminated duplication of work in planning and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) processes.


Taking a PEL approach can help document planning information and decisions for environmental review and NEPA.

Decisions and analysis to inform NEPA

PEL uses transportation planning decisions and analyses, including Purpose and Need, identification of preliminary alternatives, and elimination of unreasonable alternatives, to inform the NEPA process.

Flexible approaches

PEL can be implemented using a number of approaches, making it a flexible and adaptable tool. PEL supplements and enhances their existing processes while still realizing PEL's benefits.

Enhanced community involvement

PEL can give the public an early opportunity to assess project components and provide meaningful input on future projects in a way that is more accountable and responsive to the community.

Improved relationships and coordination

Taking a PEL approach often improves relationships and coordination with partner agencies, including stronger information sharing and better communication.

Learn more about the PEL process!