Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County in Case of Truck Terminal Realty Company, a Pennsylvania corporation v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Transportation, No. G.D. 75-9355.
Benjamin B. Wechsler, Special Assistant Attorney General, with him Robert W. Cunliffe, Deputy Attorney General, and Robert P. Kane, Attorney General, for appellant.
Leonard M. Mendelson, with him Hollinshead and Mendelson, for appellee.
President Judge Bowman and Judges Crumlish, Jr., Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer, Rogers, Blatt and DiSalle. Opinion by Judge Crumlish, Jr. Dissenting Opinion by Judge Mencer.
[ 35 Pa. Commw. Page 494]
This is an appeal by the Commonwealth's Department of Transportation (PennDOT) from an interlocutory order of the Court of Common Pleas, which we have allowed under the authority of Section 501(b) of the Appellate Court Jurisdiction Act of 1970.*fn1 The court below, in a preliminary ruling on an appeal from a report of a board of viewers pursuant to Section 517 of the Eminent Domain Code (Code),*fn2 ordered that the effect of the temporary closing of a road due to construction be considered in determining the post-condemnation market value of the property of Truck Terminal Realty Company (Plaintiff), thereby modifying the report, wherein the viewers had found that Plaintiff had suffered no damages. We reverse.
The facts, as stipulated to by the parties, are as follows:
"1. Plaintiff-Appellee, Truck Terminal Realty Company, is the owner of a parcel of real estate situate in Harmar Township and Indiana Township, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.
"2. Plaintiff's property runs approximately parallel to and approximately 90 ft. east of the required right of way line of Legislative Route 679 (Traffic Route 910). Although the property does not abut on Legislative Route 679, it has access to it over an easement or right of way which traverses an adjacent tract of land which occupies the 90 foot interval between Plaintiff's property and Route 679. Plaintiff's property has no other highway access.
"3. Plaintiff's property sits below the grade of Legislative Route 679.
[ 35 Pa. Commw. Page 495]
"4. Having determined to widen and improve Route 679, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, on November 18, 1974, filed a Declaration of Taking by which it condemned a portion of Plaintiff's easement or right-of-way and raised the grade of the road 4.04 ft. . . .
"6. Before the construction brought about by the condemnation, Plaintiff's vehicles had access from its property to Traffic Route 28, a major local artery, and Pennsylvania Turnpike Exit 5, by traveling approximately two miles south along Route 679. This access will be the same after construction, except that Legislative Route 679 will be substantially improved with respect to width and grade. However, the construction work necessitated the complete closing for a period of time of Legislative Route 679 south of Plaintiff's easement or right-of-way.
"7. The temporary closing of Route 679 south of Plaintiff's easement or right-of-way required that vehicles and customers coming from and going in that direction travel an additional 14 miles in each ...