News

Happy 75th Birthday, Pennsylvania Turnpike!

September 29, 2015

On Thursday, October 1, the Pennsylvania Turnpike will turn 75 years old.

PTC75ANNIt’s estimated that about 10,000 people traveled the turnpike in its first few days in 1940 and sent “Greetings from Pennsylvania Turnpike” postcards.

Our turnpike was one of the first superhighways in the country, and was a huge tourist attraction. Before it opened, the commute from Harrisburg to Pittsburgh took seven hours; on the turnpike, it now takes just three-and-a-half hours.

Before the turnpike opened, the only option to travel from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia was the Lincoln Highway. Now known as U.S. Route 30, it was a mountainous two-lane road that cut through many small municipalities along the way. Read more

News

Roundabouts to grow in quantity, improve safety

September 9, 2015

Drivers may begin to see more roundabouts in their Pennsylvania commutes, as studies have concluded that they are safer than traditional intersections.

ROUNDABOUTPHIAOne such study was recently conducted in the Lehigh Valley and found that there are 90 percent fewer fatal accidents in roundabouts than in intersections. They also found a 35 percent reduction in collisions with pedestrians. Unlike some traffic circles with lights, roundabouts are defined by yielding upon entry and operation without traffic signals.

This study was conducted by RK&K, on behalf of the Lehigh Valley Transportation Study committee. The study recommended 26 roundabouts in the Lehigh Valley.

PennDOT is also increasing the use of roundabouts on state roads, with a handful planned for construction in the next year in District 1.

Since these constructions will be new to many Pennsylvanians, PennDOT is offering advice to motorists encountering a roundabout:

  • Slow down when approaching the roundabout and be prepared to yield to any pedestrians in the crosswalk.
  • Approach the “Yield” line, look to the left and check for approaching traffic within the roundabout. Circulating traffic already in the roundabout has the right of way.
  • Enter the roundabout when there is a safe gap in traffic. If necessary, stop at the “Yield” line until there is a safe gap in traffic.
  • Upon entering the roundabout, drivers have the right of way and should proceed counterclockwise to their exit point.
  • Drivers approaching their exit should use their right turn signal, watch for pedestrians in the crosswalk and be prepared to yield to pedestrians.

 “According to several studies, roundabouts will make travel safer for both motorists and pedestrians,” PHIA Managing Director Jason Wagner said. “Safety has always been a major concern of PHIA, and we encourage motorists to travel carefully through construction sites where roundabouts are being constructed.”

 

News

PennDOT’s August Lettings Top $83 Million

August 28, 2015

NEW_PENNDOTPennDOT continued its strong, post-Act 89 momentum by letting just over $83 million in projects during August, bringing the year-to-date total to just shy of $1.8 billion. Last year, PennDOT ended the year with $2.6 billion in lettings, the highest since 2009 when the program was boosted by the one-time economic stimulus package. PennDOT exceeded its initial 2014 estimate of $2.2 billion and it was reported earlier that PennDOT’s 2015 anticipated lettings will again be $2.6 billion.

At the end of 2013, PennDOT only bid $1.638 billion in lettings. Act 89 enabled PennDOT to put nearly a $1 billion more projects on the street in 2014 than it was able to do in 2013.

With the recent enactment of the transportation funding bill there is reason to see this trend continue well past 2015. Act 89, which will implement a $2.3 billion comprehensive transportation funding plan over the next five years, will result in PennDOT exceeding the $2 billion construction lettings mark for years to come.

As in year’s past, PHIA will continue to track contract lettings on a monthly basis.

To view the full August letting report and year comparisons, click the link below.

August Letting Report* (PDF)

*The report lists the total contracts awarded at each letting date, a comparison to the same period in the previous calendar year, and letting adjustments made since the previous month. PHIA staff will track PennDOT lettings throughout the year and provide monthly update.

 

News

PennDOT launches project website

August 25, 2015

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The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation this week launched a website highlighting information about active and upcoming construction projects through 2026.

The website (www.projects.pennDOT.gov) includes explanatory schematics of past, present and future construction projects funded by Act 89, as well as projects that fall under the Four- and Twelve-Year Plans. Projects are searchable by county, PennDOT district and statewide.

Beyond highway construction projects, the website’s Act 89 section details bridge and public transportation projects as well. Act 89, approved in 2013, provides funding for all modes of transportation, including improvements to 5,000 state-owned miles of roads and 600 bridges.

“This website is an excellent resource for highway and public transportation users across Pennsylvania,” PHIA Managing Director Jason Wagner said. “It provides up-to-date information about our many road improvements, and shows users the improvements to come. Coupled with PA 511 and its app, PennDOT is making a wealth of information more accessible to transportation system users.”

 

News

Plan ahead for the visit of Pope Francis

August 11, 2015

For the first time in decades, the Pope will visit the United States, arriving in Philadelphia on September 25.

Anyone planning to travel through or near Philadelphia during his stay may need to take an alternate route. In order to protect Pope Francis during his visit, and ensure safe foot travel in the city, the following roads will be closed through September 27th:

  • I-76 eastbound from I-476 to I-95 and I-76 westbound from I-95 to U.S. Route 1 (Roosevelt Extension).
  • I-676 in both directions from I-76 to I-95.
  • S. Route 1 in both directions from U.S. 30 to Belmont Avenue.
  • I-95 will remain open to traffic with only selected ramps closed due to street closures within the city and security needs.

Read more

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