Penn Pike completes widening/recon of far western 9.3 miles (16km) of mainline (REVISED)

May 26, 2009

Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission has finished a total reconstruction and third laning on the westernmost 15km (10 miles) of the east-west mainline. The cost for 84 lane-km (52 lane-miles) was $132m or $2.54m/lane-mile, ($1.6m/lane-km) covering reconstruction from bare ground up including new subgrade, drainage, shoulders, median and asphalt pavement is quite low, perhaps because of competitive construction bids but also because unlike many sections of the Turnpike this is easy road country - rather flat ground, just a couple of streams, no rivers.

Actual third laning was from the toll plaza at MP1.85 to MP9.29. From the toll plaza at MP1.85 west to the Ohio border reconstruction provided 2 lanes each direction. REVISED 2009-05-28 23:50

Four 2-lane local roads got new longer bridges over the widened Turnpike and the mainline toll plaza near the Ohio state line got a rebuild of its six cash toll lanes and a highspeed transponder (E-ZPass) lane each direction down the middle.  This westernmost ten miles Milepost Zero to Milepost 10 has no interchange. MP10 at the eastern end is just shy of the PA60 Beaver Valley Expressway interchange.

This is a lightly traveled portion of the mainline with fewer than 25k vehicles/day average, but the Turnpike Commission is doing third laning wherever it does total reconstruction because the extra costs of the third lane is minor. If not needed for capacity in normal conditions the extra pavement comes in very handy when there is maintenance work or accidents. The matching portion of the Ohio Turnpike is only 2+2 lanes to Youngstown where I-80 joins, but mostly 3+3 lanes from there the 320km (200 miles) to Indiana.

Project manager for the MP0-MP10 project was Aecom, formerly DMJM-Harris.

With the opening of MP0-MP10, the eleventh recon/widening project since 1999, there are now 110km (68 miles) totally rebuilt to 3+3 lanes plus modern shoulders out of 578km (359 miles) or 19% of the total of the east-west mainline. Much of the far eastern stretch through the northern Philadelhphia suburbs was third-laned in the mid-1980s.

Another three projects are under way for reconstruction and third laning totalling 31km (19 miles) at a cost of $350m.

-  11km (6.8 miles) of mainline between MP31 and MP38 in Allegheny County just west of the Butler Valley interchange

-  the new Allegheny River Bridge costing of $190m will provide the 3+3 lanes plus shoulders

 - rebuilding and widening 13km (8 miles) of mainline between the Irwin and New Stanton interchanges MP67 and MP75 is costing about  $150m.

Brimmeier quoted

"This project represents a major boost for the region's transportation infrastructure, but we're not stopping here," CEO Joseph Brimmeier is quoted in a press announcement.

"Regionally, we have five major construction projects that are done or under way that add up to more than $591 million of turnpike improvements between the Ohio line and New Stanton."

Brimmeier points out that capital spending is now running at about twice the level of 2003 when he started.

There is reconstruction/3rd laning under way on southern portions of I-476 the Northeastern Turnpike also.

TOLLROADSnews 2009-05-26 REVISED 2009-05-28 23:50

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