News

APC and PennDOT featured in Washington event

October 6, 2023

Replacement of Pittsburgh’s Fern Hollow Bridge and a portion of I-95 destroyed by a tanker fire in Philadelphia were the topics of a presentation to some 40 congressional staff members on Capitol Hill in Washington.

Deputy PennDOT Secretary Cheryl Moon-Sirianni was joined by APC members Andrew Swank and Rob Buckley. The Fern Hollow bridge, which collapsed in early 2022, was replaced in less than a year, while I-95 was reopened in less than two weeks this summer with a temporary fix.

The presentation focused on steps that PennDOT took to expedite the work, beginning with the declaration of an emergency and cooperation among the various participants. The event was sponsored by the American Road & Transportation Builders Association, a national trade group.

 

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In Memoriam: Robert, “Bob”, Hetherington – Past PHIA Director

August 29, 2023

We are deeply saddened to inform you of the passing of our friend and colleague, Bob Hetherington, who died on Saturday evening, August 26, at his home in Bethany Village, Mechanicsburg. He was 95.

It would not be enough to say that Bob had a productive and successful career. He had several of them – newsman, soldier, combat correspondent, public relations practitioner, government agency spokesman and, last but not least, managing director of the PA Highway Information Association, from which he retired in 1993.

He received accolades at every turn, particularly as his career steered him toward transportation issues. He was active in several charitable endeavors, and with his late wife, Terry, raised a family of four.

For information about services and more details of his life, please read his beautifully written obituary.

News

Update on PennDOT and Turnpike mid-year lettings

August 4, 2023

Having crossed the halfway point of the calendar year, we wanted to provide a highway construction update. Typically, we focus on PennDOT lettings, but we thought this time we would include Turnpike projects as well.

As of June 30, PennDOT lettings totaled just over $1.6 billion, so it appears that PennDOT is well on its way to meet a projected $2.7 billion in lettings. But in addition to that, the Turnpike is expecting to spend a bit more than $903 million.

We have included a chart (click here to view) that tracks PennDOT and Turnpike lettings since 2014, the first full calendar year after passage of Act. 89. The best year since Act 89 was 2022, when PennDOT let more than $2.9 billion and the Turnpike let more than $1.3 billion.

We anticipate that even better years are ahead as the State Police subsidy from the Motor License Fund is phased out, and federal infrastructure funds are received.

We will keep you apprised as we move into the second half mark.

 

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Philly scrambles to address bridge collapse

June 23, 2023

The tragic destruction of an I-95 bridge in a fiery crash in northeast Philadelphia early Sunday morning attracted national attention, due to the importance of I-95 as a major transportation link serving the entire U.S. Eastern Seaboard. Rebuilding will take months and include a temporary road on which traffic will flow while the permanent bridgework is completed.

The bridge was destroyed when a gasoline tanker-truck went out of control on a curve along the Cottman Avenue off-ramp. The truck fell on its side beneath the I-95 overpass, igniting the gasoline. The truck’s driver was killed in the crash.

The bridge handles an average of 160,000 vehicles per day in each direction. Because I-95 is a major freight corridor, officials are warning of potential supply-chain problems, at least until the temporary road is open for traffic. The temporary road will have three lanes in each direction, and Philadelphia-based Buckley & Co. has been hired as the contractor.

The temporary road may be opened for traffic as early as this weekend.

Governor Shapiro secured federal disaster funds the day after the crash, which will expedite the project. He said reconstruction work would proceed around the clock, seven days a week, until the project is complete. PennDOT is live-streaming the demolition and construction on its website, at this link.

Also stepping up to assist was SEPTA, which is increasing rider capacity and service on several routes. For more information about that, follow this link.