Daily News Briefs, March 8, 2017

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Washington State House Passes Bill to "Jumpstart Plans" for Replacing I-5 Bridge

Associated Press reports, “Washington’s House of Representatives has passed a bill [HB 2095] seeking to jumpstart plans for replacing the Interstate 5 bridge over the Columbia River. KOIN-TV reports that the measure, filed by Vancouver Democrat Sharon Wylie, aims to start preliminary planning work related to the project. It’s one of the first steps in getting a new bridge project going after the last effort, the proposed Columbia River Crossing, fell apart in 2014 after tens of millions of dollars were spent.”

Oregon Washington State


PA Steel Manufacturer Completes $120 Million Order for Tappan Zee Bridge Girders

Williamsport Sun-Gazette reports, “Finishing up a three-year project valued at $120 million, High Steel sent off its last two superloads of steel girders for the construction of the New New York Bridge, being built to replace the Tappan Zee Bridge over the Hudson River.”

Governor Mario Cuomo Bridge (Tappan Zee Replacement Bridge) New York State Thruway Authority


Colorado DOT Says US 36 and I-70 Express Lanes Toll Revenue Is Meeting Expectations

TheDenverChannel.com reports that one year after opening, the revenue from the US 36 and I-70 express toll lanes “is meeting expectations and [both facilities are] able to meet their financial obligations. CDOT reports that 12.9 million customers used the express lanes in 2015, based on normalized stats from the July opening through December. Nearly 24 million customers used the express lanes in 2016, which is almost double the amount from 2015.”

Colorado Colorado Department of Transportation Express Lanes


GDOT Has Trio of Toll Lane Projects in the Works for Cobb County

The Marietta Daily Journal reports that Cobb County transportation chief Jim Wilgus briefed a business group on the Georgia Department of Transportation’s plans for “several large-scale managed toll lane projects, including two that will be in parts of Cobb County.” Details are scarce, but Wilgus said the “Revive 285” project, “set to run along the top end of I-285 between I-75 and I-85,” may be the next major project to gain approval. Other projects in the pipeline, according to the article, are the “West Wall,” which would add toll lanes along I-285 between I-75 and I-20, and the “East Wall,” which would run along I-285 between I-85 and I-20.

Georgia Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT)


"NEPA-geddon" Threatens Billions in Road Projects unless California Lawmakers Act

The Sacramento Bee reports that hundreds of road projects totaling $11 billion could come to a halt unless California lawmakers pass a measure to “preserve a decade-old arrangement with the federal government that speeds up California transportation projects. The pact expired Dec. 31, and now the Brown administration and lawmakers are racing to revive it and keep billions of dollars in planned projects on schedule. Assembly Bill 28 by Assemblyman Jim Frazier, D-Oakley, would allow the state to continue assuming federal responsibilities under the National Environmental Policy Act for road projects.”

California US Department of Transportation (USDOT)


2,000-Year-Old Roman Road Discovered in Israel

Haaretz (subscription or login required) reports, “A beautifully preserved stretch of Roman road, about 2,000 years old, was uncovered near Beit Shemesh in February during earthworks ahead of laying a water pipeline to Jerusalem.” The report adds that archaeologists found some rare coins, including one minted by Pontius Pilate, in what appears to be the remnants of a coin basket of sorts. (Photos of the road and the coins are worth a click.)



NCDOT Data Show Rise in Crashes in I-77 Toll Lane Construction Zone

WSOC reports that “crashes have increased dramatically in the I-77 toll construction zone,” adding that, “Channel 9 discovered more than 400 extra crashes happened in 2016, the year after construction started. More than 80 percent of those crashes were related to congestion, according to NCDOT.” On March 5, the station reports, there was 13-car, non-injury pileup on I-77 near Exit 31.

I-77 Express Lanes (NC) North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT)


Engineers Use Trucks Loaded with "Tons of Materials" to Test Delaware River Turnpike Bridge Repair

Bucks County Courier Times reports that an emergency engineering task force was conducting load tests yesterday, March 7, “to examine the readiness of the repaired Delaware River Bridge.” Engineers used heavy-duty trucks loaded with tons of materials to test the beam splice made on the 1.25-mile bridge that carries I-276 across the river and connects the Pennsylvania and New Jersey Turnpikes. The bridge, temporarily closed in late January, typically serves about 42,000 motorists a day. Test results are expected later this week.

The article includes an account of a March 7 public meeting on the repair work that notes, “Closed roads, large trucks bringing in machinery and the ongoing noise from drills and other equipment have taken their toll, according to many of the residents who met with representatives of the Pennsylvania and New Jersey turnpikes Tuesday night.”

New Jersey Turnpike Authority (NJTA) Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC)


PA Turnpike to Begin E-ZPass Express Lane Project

WCAU reports on the Pennsylvania Turnpike’s plans to “begin work on the E-ZPass express lanes connecting the Pennsylvania Turnpike (Interstate 276) the turnpike’s Northeast Extension (Interstate 476) and the Blue Route (Interstate 476) in Plymouth Meeting, Montgomery County the night of Friday, March 17. . . .”

E-ZPass Express Lanes Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC)


Buffalo News Editors Push NY Thruway to Nix Grand Island Bridges Tolls

The Buffalo News editorial board wants the New York Thruway Authority to eliminate the toll on Grand Island Bridges. “Tolls were supposed to have been abolished 21 years ago, yet drivers continue to be dinged. Beyond the hit to the wallet – town residents and commuters pay a reduced rate – is the inconvenience as drivers wait in long lines at rush hour for the privilege of paying their toll.”

New York State Thruway Authority


New Trump Administration Immigration Order Shouldn't Cause "Massive Backups" along Canadian Border

The Buffalo News reports, “The Trump administration’s new executive order on immigration appears to dramatically pare back its earlier call for biometric scans for all travelers crossing the U.S.-Canadian border, meaning the order may not cause massive backups at border crossings after all.”



The Illiana Project Lives - In a Maybe, Kinda-Sorta Way

Daily Southtown (via Chicago Tribune) reports that Will County officials have advanced their long- range transportation plan (“Will Connects 2040”) to the final approval stage. “Given the uncertainty of the proposed but shelved Illiana toll road project,” the newspaper adds, “the plan identifies transportation priorities and potential funding over the next 25 years, with and without the toll road.”



Brazil Launches $14.43 Billion Infrastructure Concessions Program

Reuters reports, “Brazil’s President Michel Temer launched an infrastructure concessions program on Tuesday [March 7] to raise 45 billion reais ($14.43 billion) in investment for building and operating roads, port terminals, railways and power transmission lines.” The report adds, “Rights to operate three highways will be auctioned before current licenses expire and will go to bidders who offer the biggest investment and the lowest toll rates, Transport Minister Maurício Quintella said.”

Brazil P3 & Privatization


Transurban to Offer Australian Parental Leave Policy to American Employees

The Australian reports, “Transurban director Sam Mostyn says more companies must break the stigma of viewing family friendly arrangements in the workplace as ‘women’s issues’ as the toll road giant prepares to offer its Australian parental leave policy to its American employees for the first time.”

Australia Transurban


Fitch: US Managed Lanes Are Off to a Good Start in 2017

Fitch Ratings releases a ‘Peer Review of U.S. Managed Lanes” that notes, “Managed lanes throughout the country are off to a good start in 2017. . . . Actual performance is so far exceeding Fitch’s rating case for the sector as a whole, with 95 Express in Northern Virginia and NTE (segments 1 and 2) in Texas proving to be notable examples.” Click here to read the peer review document.

Express Lanes I-95 Express (Metro Washington, DC) Investment Ratings NTE Mobility Partners


PANYNJ Police Nab Scofflaw with $50,000 in Unpaid Tolls, Fines

NJ.com reports that a Hudson County man was arrested at the Lincoln Tunnel yesterday morning, March 7, after police found he owed more than $50,000 in tolls and fees stemming from 802 violations.

PANYNJ Scofflaws