Time to clean up Pennsylvania

Written by Jon Schmitz on .

It’s time to clean up Pennsylvania.

We aren’t referring to the recent blizzard of indictments and convictions of crooked politicians and other public servants.

We’re talking about trash.

The annual Great American Cleanup of Pennsylvania is getting started, and PennDOT is asking for volunteers. Last year, 141,000 volunteers picked up 6.7 million pounds of trash along more than 12,500 miles of roads, bringing the program’s three-year total to 25.9 million pounds, and quite possibly keeping Pennsylvania from being designated America’s Dump.

The campaign runs through May 31, sponsored by PennDOT, Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful, the Department of Environmental Protection and others. Groups that are already part of the Adopt-A-Highway are also asked to participate.

A listing of cleanup events, resources for organizing a cleanup and other information can be found at Groups interested in adopting a section of highway can contact their local PennDOT county maintenance office and ask for the Adopt-A-Highway coordinator, or visit
U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster of Blair County, chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, says he wants to see faster train service between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg. Here’s a report from the hardworking folks at’s Morning Transportation:

With Amtrak service through T&I Chairman Bill Shuster’s district on to Pittsburgh preserved by a deal between Pennsylvania and the railroad, the next step in the chairman’s view is to get those speeds up. The problem is less about the existing route needing subsidies, he recently told MT, but instead improving the viability of the route by making it quicker than driving. “We learned the lessons from Harrisburg to Philadelphia. How do you do it? You increase the speed, you get the time down to travel.” He said driving from the state capital to Philly can take more than three hours, while the Keystone can do it in about 90 minutes. That’s why when he goes to Philly, he drives to Harrisburg then takes the train into Center City -- because right now service from points west of Harrisburg isn’t frequent or fast enough to make the trip faster.

PennDOT expects to complete a study of various options for improving the service between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg this summer. For much more about the service and the plans, go to


roadworkaheadConstruction will cause traffic restrictions at Beechwood Boulevard and Monitor Street in Squirrel Hill, near the parkway interchange, for about four months starting Monday. Traffic on Beechwood Boulevard will be limited to one lane in both directions through the intersection. Traffic traveling from Monitor Street onto Beechwood Boulevard will be limited to right turns only.

Utility work will cause lane closures and traffic shifts on Route 837 between Miller Road and Clark Street in Clairton from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays starting Monday and continuing through April 19.

Inspection of bridges and overhead signs will cause lane closures and traffic shifts on the Parkway West starting at 10 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday. Wednesday’s work will be outbound between the Fort Pitt Tunnels and Banksville Road; Thursday’s will be inbound between Banksville and the tunnels and on inbound Banksville as it approaches the parkway.

PennDOT hopes to reopen Freeport Road at the site of a landslide late tonight, but a nearby section of the road will close at 10 p.m. for unrelated reasons. The slide Monday night closed the road between Riddle Run Road in Springdale Township and the C.L. Schmitt-New Kensington Bridge in East Deer. Crews will remove debris from the area throughout the day, PennDOT spokesman Jim Struzzi said. A previously announced closure of Freeport Road from the bridge to Conroy Way in Tarentum will occur as scheduled from 10 p.m. today to 7 a.m. Wednesday. That closure will allow movement of super-heavy mill equipment through the area.

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