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2016 Road & Bridge Safety Award Program Now Open to PA Boroughs

January 21, 2016 by · Comments Off on 2016 Road & Bridge Safety Award Program Now Open to PA Boroughs
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PSAB_borough_seal_outlinesEach year the Pennsylvania Highway Information Association (PHIA) and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) team with various state organizations to recognize the best road safety or bridge improvement projects undertaken across the state.  For the 34th straight year, the program is now open for members of the Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs (PSAB).  The same award program for PA’s townships opened last month and will open later in the year for PA’s counties.  Eligible projects are those in which most or all of the safety improvements were completed in 2015.  The competition recognizes not only major, high-cost projects, but any improvements that have increased public safety.

Go here for complete information and to download the entry brochures.

 

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PennDOT Secretary Leslie Richards Outlines 2015 Achievements

January 12, 2016 by · Comments Off on PennDOT Secretary Leslie Richards Outlines 2015 Achievements
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Secretary-Richards2In an op-ed article that ran in papers around the state, PennDOT Secretary Leslie Richards detailed the many accomplishments of PennDOT during 2015.

These projects included: 608 highway and bridge contracts worth more than $2.5 billion, improvements to more than 6,000 miles of road, a reduction in structurally deficient bridges by 2,000, and $434 million to communities to fix local roads.

PennDOT also focused on improved technology in 2015 by launching FindMyRidePA, introducing wait time monitoring at driver services centers around the state and tracking PennDOT snow plows.

“We are working hard at PennDOT every day to keep you moving,” Secretary Richards wrote. “We prepare to enter 2016 with a renewed commitment to put your dollars invested with us to effective and efficient use.”

“Thanks to funding from Act 89 (the comprehensive, multi-modal funding package of 2013), the past year was filled with necessary highway and bridge improvements,” PHIA Managing Director Jason Wagner said. “We hope that 2016 is just as productive and there are many more projects on the horizon.

“However, ,he numbers alone don’t tell the entire story,” said PHIA Managing Director Jason Wagner. “PennDOT’s efforts have resulted in three very important things – improved safety, congestion relief and the creation of hundreds of jobs. Those benefits will continue thanks to the funding measures passed by the General Assembly and Congress.”

You can read Secretary Richards’ op-ed in full here.

 

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PennDOT Partners With Waze

December 22, 2015 by · Comments Off on PennDOT Partners With Waze
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WazeGovernor Tom Wolf announced a partnership between PennDOT and user-crowd-sourcing traffic app, Waze.

The app shows users a map of their route along with updates from other users. Users are able to report accidents and road conditions. The partnership with PennDOT will allow PennDOT to share its information with Waze and improve the quantity and quality of information available to users.

“As travelers rely more and more on their smartphones for real-time traffic data, this new partnership represents yet another way PennDOT is modernizing to keep up with the demands of its customers,” Governor Wolf said in his announcement.

The app is already very popular in the state and Waze reports that Philadelphia has more than 417,000 active users per month and Pittsburgh has more than 80,000 active users per month.

“PennDOT is always looking for ways to make it easier and safer to travel on our roadways,” PennDOT Secretary Leslie Richards said.

“PHIA applauds every effort to make our roads safer and to help people manage traffic congestion,” PHIA Managing Director Jason Wagner said. “This will be especially helpful as many Pennsylvanians prepare to travel throughout the holidays.”

 

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PennDOT Secretary Richards highlights need for more PennDOT funding

November 24, 2015 by · Comments Off on PennDOT Secretary Richards highlights need for more PennDOT funding
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STATEPOLICE (002)PennDOT Secretary Leslie Richards held media availability recently to discuss PennDOT’s ongoing projects and needs. One of the more pressing needs she addressed was reliable federal funding.

“It helps us if we have a long-term bill and in the world of the federal government, six years is a long-term bill,” Secretary Richards said. “Of course it helps us if that long-term bill has predictable funding for all six years. It is really hard for us to plan if we don’t know that funding is predictable. That challenge of how much money we have and what needs to be done is something we deal with every day here at PennDOT.”

She also highlighted another issue that PHIA has been concerned about for some time: diverting money from Motor License Fund to help support State Police. The Motor License Fund is constitutionally protected fund for highway use.

“We are pleased that the Motor License Fund issue is on the secretary’s radar, and we look forward to working with the General Assembly to find a solution,” PHIA Managing Director Jason Wagner said. “Highway patrol is a highway use, but two thirds of the State Police budget is coming from the Motor License Fund, and it certainly does not appear that the agency devotes two thirds of its resources for that purpose.”

 

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PennDOT lets $207 million in October

November 4, 2015 by · Comments Off on PennDOT lets $207 million in October
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NEW_PENNDOTPennDOT continued its strong, post-Act 89 momentum by letting just over $207 million in projects during October, bringing the year-to-date total to just over  $2.2 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.  However, we anticipate that PennDOT will fall short of this projection and finish the year in the $2.4 to $2.5 billion range.

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. Read more

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PennDOT encourages teens to be safer drivers

October 20, 2015 by · Comments Off on PennDOT encourages teens to be safer drivers
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TEENDRIVERPennDOT has launched several initiatives to make teen drivers in Pennsylvania safer to themselves and other motorists.

PennDOT Secretary Leslie Richards kicked off Teen Driver Safety Week to raise awareness about the dangers of young drivers. There were 113,029 crashes involving at least one teen driver in Pennsylvania in the last five years, resulting in 859 fatalities.

“Safely operating a vehicle requires complex evaluations, split-second decisions and intricate maneuvers. Parents are in the best position to evaluate a teen driver’s knowledge, skills and abilities behind the wheel,” said Richards. “Parents setting a positive, safe example for young drivers in their family and continuing to monitor young drivers after they receive their license helps establish a mentality of safety behind the wheel among teen drivers.” Read more

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Nearly 200 highway users gather for PHIA’s annual meeting

October 8, 2015 by · Comments Off on Nearly 200 highway users gather for PHIA’s annual meeting
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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

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PennDOT lets $279 million in projects during September

October 5, 2015 by · Comments Off on PennDOT lets $279 million in projects during September
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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

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Senate committee OKs work zone speed camera bill

September 29, 2015 by · Comments Off on Senate committee OKs work zone speed camera bill
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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.

 

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Roundabouts to grow in quantity, improve safety

September 9, 2015 by · Comments Off on Roundabouts to grow in quantity, improve safety
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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.”