PHIA News Digest – Vol. 5, No. 26

June 29, 2020

With people driving less, PennDOT puts brakes on some road and bridge projects

Pennsylvanians are driving less because of the coronavirus pandemic and that’s putting the brakes on some road construction projects.

Speed cameras in Pa: Thousands of violations in 3 months of enforcement

Nearly 30,000 violations have been issued so far to drivers who sped through active work zones, said Jennifer Kuntch, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Transportation.

Work set to begin on Northeast Philly stretch of I-95

Drivers who use I-95 through the city should be prepared for more delays. PennDOT is set to begin long-term roadwork on a busy stretch of the highway in Northeast Philadelphia.

National study puts PA among worst states in country for road deaths blamed on speeding drivers

The analysis, by researchers at CoPilot, a car-shopping app, found that in Pennsylvania, 41.9% of total traffic deaths involve speeding. Pennsylvania has the fifth highest percentage of traffic deaths that involve speeding in the U.S.

PennDOT extends exp. dates on driver licenses, ID cards, learner’s permits until July 31

As of June 23, 2020, expiration dates for driver licenses, photo ID cards and learner’s permits scheduled to expire from March 16, through July 31, have been extended until July 31, 2020.

PennDOT to begin collecting wind speed data on thruway bridge over the Susquehanna

Data collected from the monitors will be analyzed along with that from a wind tunnel study, Matt Beck, the PennDOT plans engineer at Montoursville, said. A consultant will use models in the tunnel study to determine how wind speeds affect certain vehicles, he explained.


Featured, News

New tool provides highway investment info

June 26, 2020

The American Road & Transportation Builders Association launched a tool this week that highlights the benefits of highway investment across the country.

It shows that Pennsylvania leveraged nearly $1.2 billion in federal funds to spur more than $2.2 billion in highway improvements in the 2018 fiscal year.

Called the ARTBA Highway Dashboard, the tool is designed to provide elected officials and the public with information about how and where states invest their transportation tax dollars. The tool comes as we approach the expiration of the federal FAST Act surface transportation law on Sept. 30.

In Pennsylvania, two-thirds of the cost of projects was for reconstruction or repair work on existing roads. Planning, design and engineering accounted for 13%, added capacity 12% and new construction 1%.

“This tool provides useful information for the public and policymakers as we get closer to the time that decisions on funding will need to be made,” said PHIA Managing Director Jason Wagner. “Sound decisions start with sound data, so we’re pleased to have it available.”

To view the ARTBA Highway Dashboard, click here.

ARTBA is a national trade association for the highway industry, with more than 8,000 public and private-sector members.



PHIA News Digest – Vol. 5, No. 25

June 22, 2020

PennDOT adjusts skills tests to lessen coronavirus exposure; appointments can be made online

Pennsylvania Department of Transportation skills tests have been modified to lessen potential exposure of staff and customers to the coronavirus “while maintaining the integrity of the testing process,” according to PennDOT.

Somerset approves deal with second group to help win Route 219 support

The Somerset County Commissioners have decided to double their lobbying efforts in a bid to gain lawmakers’ support that is needed to complete the last section of Route 219.

$125.4 million upgrades on I-78 and Route 61 started after coronavirus delay

Ronald J. Young Jr., PennDOT spokesman, said Wednesday it is unclear if the two-month delay in construction will have an impact on the overall project, which is expected to be complete in 2025.

Pa. Turnpike officials defend decision to make toll road cashless, lay off nearly 500 workers

A labor union that represents toll booth workers plans to take legal action against the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission after it unanimously voted to lay off nearly 500 employees despite a contract that assured employment through January 2022, according to Teamsters International Vice President-East William Hamilton.

Invest in transportation and infrastructure for Pittsburgh region’s post-covid-19 future

As work continues in Washington, D.C., on future phases of the federal response to the pandemic, we are coming together — business and labor — to urge strong support for a robust transportation and infrastructure package.

T&I Republican slams transit’s ask for more funding

Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.), a House Transportation member, took issue with a labor group leader for saying that transit agencies will need billions of dollars in additional funding to get through the coronavirus crisis.

Transit firms, agencies ramp up D.C. efforts

The transit world, including private contractors, are ramping up their efforts to get help from Washington.



PHIA News Digest – Vol. 5, No. 24

June 15, 2020

End in sight for years-long Route 322 Potters Mills construction project

The construction project that began nearly five years ago will have a new roadway and two new interchanges that will eliminate backups on both routes 144 and 322 and a smoother flow of traffic. The project is expected to be completed sometime this fall.

PennDOT focusing on CSVT river bridge

One month after the resuming work on the Central Susquehanna Valley Thruway, construction teams are working on the mile-plus-long bridge that spans the West Branch of the Susquehanna River near Winfield, preparing to complete the concrete deck this year.

Transportation workers continue push for federal COVID-19 safety regulations

House members examined Tuesday how the coronavirus pandemic has impacted transportation workers, including truck drivers, flight attendants and transit operators.

26,000 drivers have received notices for speeding through work zones

Despite the lighter traffic, PennDOT District 11 Assistant Executive for Construction Jason Zang says, “Since March, statewide 26,000 notices have gone out, about 10% of those are repeat offenders.”



26,000 work zone speeding violations since March

June 12, 2020

PennDOT reports that some 26,000 vehicle owners have received violation notices for speeding through work zones since Pennsylvania’s automated speed enforcement program went live in March.

The information comes by way of a feature story by Pittsburgh’s KDKA-TV, quoting a PennDOT District 11 official. He said about 10 percent of the violations were repeat offenders.

Because the first violation draws a warning rather than a fine, the vast majority of violators have escaped a hit to their wallets – so far. It’s also worth noting that, while 26,000 seems like a large number at first, consider that traffic volumes during the coronavirus pandemic have been significantly less than typical.

The process is triggered when vehicles drive through the work zones at more than 11 miles per hour over the speed limit. A second offense draws a $75 fine, and subsequent violations are $150 each.

“We would expect the violation numbers will increase significantly as the Covid-19 lockdown ends,” said PHIA Managing Director Jason Wagner. “Then, once drivers become familiar with the program, they’ll probably begin falling, as was the experience in Maryland.”

Click here to view the entire news story.