PHIA News Digest – Vol. 5, No. 18

May 5, 2020

Construction projects across Pennsylvania get ready to roll

After sitting idle for approximately six weeks, nonessential construction sites across Pennsylvania are gearing up to resume work on May 1. In doing so, project teams must adhere to new COVID-19 safety regulations released by Gov. Tom Wolf (D) on April 24. Wolf became one of the first governors in the country to shut down all but essential projects on March 19.

PennDOT to resume safety project near I-80 Bellefonte Interchange

While it will likely be at least five years before the new I-80/I-99 high-speed interchange is completed, PennDOT is continuing work to enhance safety near the I-80 Bellefonte exit.

Potters Mills work continues in May

Work will continue off the roadway, and drivers should be alert and drive cautiously, as numerous construction vehicles will enter and exit U.S. 322 through the Potters Mills area. Flaggers in the roadway may be aiding construction vehicle movement. Motorists are not permitted to follow construction equipment into the work area.

Southern Beltway project to resume in Mt. Pleasant Township

Construction on the Southern Beltway will continue beginning Tuesday with traffic restrictions being set into place in Mt. Pleasant Township, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

CSVT work to continue next week

Work will begin Monday and will include excavation and embankment operations, planting trees and shrubs, and building temporary access roads to facilitate the paving operations. Work on the CSVT River Bridge will begin a week later, on May 11. The contractor will continue preparatory work for the construction of the bridge deck.

Pa. turnpike traffic reduction could cost SEPTA $178M

SEPTA is hemorrhaging money and riders thanks to the coronavirus pandemic — and now, it also faces an imminent shortfall in state transit funding that could delay critical infrastructure projects like station renovations or new vehicle purchases.

Pa. banned license plates: The 2,000+ phrases PennDOT won’t allow you to use

Over the years, PennDOT has compiled a list of messages it will not allow on license plates, whether by some random assembly or by a mischievous driver willing to pay for a vanity plate. The list has a mind-boggling 2,330 entries.

PA Turnpike sees 46% traffic reduction during pandemic

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission is seeing a revenue loss when it comes to tolls across the state. “We’ve seen a 35% decrease in revenue and a 46% decrease in traffic volumes,” Turnpike Commission spokesperson Carl DeFebo said.

Gas tax revenue drying up

According to AAA Mid-Atlantic, the demand for gasoline has dropped as much as 50%, inventories have risen to a record high and the price of gas continues to plunge at the pump.



PHIA News Digest – Vol. 5, No. 17

April 27, 2020

Gas tax revenue drying up

According to AAA Mid-Atlantic, the demand for gasoline has dropped as much as 50%, inventories have risen to a record high and the price of gas continues to plunge at the pump.

Wolf administration announces housing and transportation funding

Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) Secretary Dennis Davin announced new funding assistance for community development and affordable housing activities to address the COVID-19 pandemic under the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Pandemic puts emergency responders in tough spot; PennDOT adapts

Nearly a quarter of Pennsylvania’s Emergency Medical Services shut down between 2012 and 2018 due to a lack of funding and not enough emergency service technicians, paramedics or volunteers to staff ambulances. That was before the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, emergency responders face exposure to patients infected by the virus and risking their own health, as well as money being even tighter.

PennDOT extending deadlines for licenses, registrations

While expiration dates on licenses and registrations were extended to the end of April, they are now through the end of May. The deadline extension also applies to safety and emissions inspections as well as learner’s permits.

Prices are plummeting at the pump. But, will it last?

Prices at the pump are plummeting as more people are staying home during the COVID-19 crisis. That’s good news for drivers and for the state when it comes to protecting public health. But, the lower gas consumption could carry long-term impacts for Pennsylvania when it comes to collecting the gas tax, which funds infrastructure and state police services.

Coronavirus restrictions drive down traffic

Welcome to another consequence of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic – traffic on major roadways throughout the five-county Times News region is down significantly.

The Pa. Turnpike is seeing less traffic; it could cause big problems statewide

With fewer drivers, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission is generating a lot less money from tolls. From March 22 through April 18, the turnpike commission has seen a 50 percent drop in revenue from tolls.



PHIA News Digest – Vol. 5, No. 16

April 20, 2020

Leadfoot or lightfoot, driving the open roads in a pandemic

The best way to drive safely during the pandemic is not to drive at all. But if you have to travel, several experts offered tips on how to make sure you and your loved ones get there and back safely.

Pa. Turnpike considers cutting capital budget projects, transit payments

The Pennsylvania Turnpike has experienced such sharp declines in traffic and revenue as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic that the agency is reviewing all of its expenses, including its 10-year, $5.9 billion capital improvement plans and its $450 million annual payments to the state to help pay for public transit.

Road construction in Johnstown considered ‘critical work,’ crews take extra precautions

PennDOT officials say certain construction projects are still being worked because of safety issues that need to be addressed. They are calling these projects, critical work. The Franklin Street Project is in this category.

Many road construction projects curbed due to coronavirus

The opening of the Tilghman Street Bridge was supposed to happen in June of next year. But now the nearly $22 million project, as well as many other projects, will most likely be delayed as the coronavirus has thrown a construction curveball.

Breaking down the state DOT $50B backstop

Moves by state governments to slash their budgets in the face of COVID-19 pandemic-induced revenue declines re-emphasized the need for a nearly $50 billion federally-funded fiscal “backstop,” according to analysis by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.

Feds award $239 million to 63 Pa. airports to help in financial recovery from coronavirus pandemic

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao announced Tuesday that the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Aviation Administration is awarding $239.2 million in airport aid to commonwealth airports.

Construction curveball: Pandemic causes PennDOT, contractors to change road work protocols

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and some contractors have been collaborating for decades, using their knowledge and experience to develop working relationships and common practices at construction sites.



PHIA News Digest – Vol. 5, No. 15

April 14, 2020

Traffic drop from stay-at-home orders could imperil road projects

While that makes it easier to patch potholes, it also could spell trouble for road and bridge projects. The longer motorists remain off the roads, the harder it will be for states to afford repairs in the months and years ahead.

Transportation Secretary Chao announces $25 billion to help public transportation

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration announced a total of $25 billion in federal funding allocations to help the nation’s public transportation systems respond to the coronavirus.

AASHTO asks congress for $50B fiscal backstop for state DOTs

The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials sent a letter to congressional leadership on April 6 requesting the immediate emergency injection of $49.95 billion to offset an estimated 30% loss in state transportation revenues over the next 18 months.

Construction companies in Pennsylvania cautiously return to work

As critical highway and bridge projects across the state resume, Navarro & Wright Consulting Engineering Inc. is one of the companies that received a green light to start.

State Police: 76 percent decline in traffic volume on turnpike

It’s no secret there are fewer cars on the road with many of you staying home– and State Police say they have the data to support the decline.

PennDOT reopens additional roadside rest areas

PennDOT is reopening indoor facilities at five additional rest areas statewide. Rest areas were temporarily closed statewide on March 17 in response to Governor Tom Wolf’s mitigation guidance regarding COVID-19 to ensure that proper safety and sanitation protocols were in place. Twenty-eight select rest areas across Pennsylvania have since reopened.



PHIA News Digest – Vol. 5, No. 14

April 6, 2020

ARTBA survey: Transportation projects are active in most states

Construction crews in most states continued to work on critical transportation infrastructure projects as of late March while taking necessary precautions to protect their workforces from COVID-19, according to a March 31 survey of American Road & Transportation Builders Association members.

Pennsylvania halting pay for 9,000 state workers

Pennsylvania will stop paying about 9,000 state workers whose offices have been closed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, officials said Friday.

PennDOT eases back to work on critical road projects after coronavirus hiatus

PennDOT returned to work on 61 projects across the state, including reconstructing Route 100 in Lehigh County. Construction crews completed work on a waterline on the highway Thursday, PennDOT spokesman Ron Young said.

‘Critical’ Franklin Street roadwork to go ahead during pandemic

Road improvement project in the Johnstown area and two bridge upgrades in Bedford County are on PennDOT’s list of 61 “emergency and critical” projects that will go ahead during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Coronavirus won’t stop $270 million Interstate 78 upgrade in Berks County, PennDOT announces

PennDOT on Thursday activated 61 emergency road and bridge projects, including a $270 million upgrade on Interstate 78 in Berks County.

Coronavirus in Pa.: I-83 Mount Rose, other PennDOT projects resume

It’s back to work on some construction sites in central Pennsylvania amid the coronavirus pandemic. PennDOT had suspended all construction in mid-March because of the virus. On Thursday, the agency released a list of 61 critical highway and bridge projects across the Commonwealth that will resume work.