News

Nearly 200 highway users gather for PHIA’s annual meeting

October 8, 2015

Attendees were treated to seminars given by industry experts and transportation-focused elected officials including Turnpike Commission CEO Mark Compton, House Transportation Chairman Rep. John Taylor (R-Philadelphia), PennDOT P3 Director Michael Bonini, Senate Policy Chairman Senator David Argall, and many more.

Lou_Barletta,_Official_Portrait,_112th_Congress_(2)We got an update on the status of the Rapid Bridge Replacement Program that is currently underway to repair 558 structurally deficient bridges across the state, learned about legislation to improve work zone safety and hold reckless drivers accountable and Congressman Lou Barletta (R-Luzerne) explained the debate going on in Washington, D.C. about transportation funding.  Barletta announced that he plans to introduce legislation in Washington modeling Pennsylvania’s Act 89 law in order to push Congress into adoptions of a comprehensive, long-term funding bill for the nation.

Secretary-Richards2PennDOT Secretary Leslie Richards also joined us for lunch to address the need for consistent, reliable funding to maintain our roads and bridges. She says there have been talks about new sources of recurring revenue, but also emphasized the need to protect existing funding for highways – the Motor License Fund. Read more

News

PennDOT lets $279 million in projects during September

October 5, 2015

NEW_PENNDOTPennDOT continued its strong, post-Act 89 momentum by letting just over $279 million in projects during September, bringing the year-to-date total to just over  $2 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. Read more

News

Senate committee OKs work zone speed camera bill

September 29, 2015

safezone_signThe Senate Transportation Committee unanimously advanced a bill that would allow automated enforcement of speed limits in Pennsylvania’s work zones. The bill now goes to the full Senate for a vote.

Senate Bill 840, sponsored by Senators David Argall (R-Schuylkill) and Judy Schwank (D-Berks), would establish a five-year pilot program to test the automated enforcement program in active work zones on Interstate highways managed by either PennDOT or the Turnpike Commission. The owners of cars photographed traveling at least 11 miles per hour above the posted speed limit would receive a $100 citation in the mail.  The bill also requires advanced warning signs to be placed in advance of camera usage to alert motorists that automated enforcement is in operation.

If the measure receives Senate approval, it will then be considered by the House before being sent to the governor for final approval.

 

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.”

 

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