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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!