Project Purpose
The purpose of this project is to upgrade a key north / south route within Westmoreland County providing improved regional access. The project will also deliver a multi-modal corridor linking the Arnold Palmer Regional Airport with the state highway system. The proposed project will:
• Improve safety on study area roadways,
• Provide consistent and reliable access and travel times for businesses and residents traveling
to the study area, and
• Provide regional transportation users a more safe and reliable north/south connection to
businesses and recreational amenities
• Reduce regional travel times and delays for vehicles throughout the study area

Draft Project Needs
Increasing ridership at the Arnold Palmer Regional Airport (64,013 passengers in 2011; 244,618 in 2014; and 355,910 in 2015) will put an added strain on already congested highways leading to the airport.

SR 981 does not provide efficient access to larger or interstate trucks.

Multiple substandard geometric features exist within study corridor preventing safe and reliable access within the corridor.
• Substandard features overlap with crash cluster locations in multiple areas along the corridor.
• Narrow corridor width and steep grades prevent efficient truck and multi-modal access.

The study area experiences a high truck volume due to major employers, all located in the greater Latrobe area, including:
• Carpenter Steel (Latrobe Specialty Metals Company) - #19 of the top 50 employers in
Westmoreland County
• Pace Industries- #39 of the top 50 employers in Westmoreland County
• Lehigh Specialty Steel
• Allegheny Ludlum
• Westmoreland County Airpark
• Arnold Palmer Regional Airport

Congestion and safety concerns exist within the region and along SR 981
• In the future, segments of SR 30 and SR 119 that are critical for interstate access from SR 981
are projected to operate over capacity.
• Crash clusters are occurring at roadway segments and intersections within the study area.
• Ten crash clusters are occurring on roadway segments within the study area and all of the
crashes are occurring at a rate higher than the statewide average for similar roadway
(a majority of the crash rates are more than double the statewide rate).

Insufficient pedestrian/bicycle accommodations exist throughout the study area
• SR 981 and Kecksburg Road intersection, including the ballfields in Norvelt

These draft project needs are subject to change during the feasibility study process and will be updated periodically.