PHIA News Digest – Vol. 2, No. 16
Over the past 40 years, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission has spent nearly $120 million on design, redesign, environmental impact statements and other elements for the proposed last leg of the Mon-Fayette Expressway.
That 14-mile segment from Jefferson Hills to Monroeville, which has a revised completion estimate of $2 billion, was put on hold last month by the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission. The planning commission will decide in June whether the project continues or gets placed back on the shelf, where the former turnpike commission chairman predicted last year it would die.
PennDOT today announced that traffic deaths in Pennsylvania reached a record low in 2016 with 1,188 fatalities on Pennsylvania roadways last year, a new low since record keeping began in 1928.
While the number of highway deaths dropped in many types of crashes, there were significant decreases noted in run-off the road, hit fixed object, and drinking driver fatalities. Fatalities in run-off the road crashes dropped from 580 in 2015 to 518. Hit fixed object fatalities also decreased from 459 in 2015 to 401 last year. Deaths attributed to drinking-driver-related crashes declined to 263, down from 306 in 2015.
For local drivers who deal daily with heavy Interstate 81 traffic, major help isn’t on the way any time soon.
The long-discussed widening of I-81 to three lanes for more than 30 miles north and south between the Clarks Summit and Nanticoke interchanges remains dependent on funding that so far doesn’t exist, experts made clear at a Focus 81 meeting Wednesday.
A popular Obama-era infrastructure financing program may get revived this year as President Trump moves forward on his pledge to invest $1 trillion in infrastructure. But this time around, state and local governments might not be as excited about it.
It took a small army a little less than two years to build the original Turnpike, from Irwin to the outskirts of Carlisle.
Working almost around the clock from 1938 to 1940, 18,000 men bored through the Allegheny Mountains, leveled farmers’ fields and paved their way across the valleys. They contended with tunnel collapses, labor unrest and irate farmers angered over the taking of their fields, and yet moved at a remarkable pace, paving a mile a day with solid concrete slabs over the compacted earth.
Northampton County Council again rejected a bill that would tack a $5 fee onto PennDOT vehicle registrations.
Since last summer, council members have considered the fee, which is allowed under state law so long as counties limit the proceeds to transportation projects. In Northampton County’s case, that would raise about $1.4 million that could go toward bridge repairs.