PHIA News Digest – Vol. 2, No. 6

February 6, 2017

PDSITELOGO2As Trump Vows Building Splurge, Famed Traffic Choke Point Offers Warning

Millions of people who travel between the Mid-Atlantic and the Midwest each year fight through Breezewood, Pa., a strange gap in the Interstate System. A leg of Route I-70 brings drivers north from Washington and Baltimore to plug into the Pennsylvania Turnpike and the great road network that runs west to the heartland cities of Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Chicago.

But no ramps join these two huge highways at their crossing. Instead, drivers travel an extra two-mile loop that takes them out of rural Appalachia and into several suddenly urban blocks with traffic lights and a dense bazaar of gas stations, fast-food restaurants and motels.

Trump’s Highway Plan May Face Same Old Roadblocks In Congress

Just how bad is the state of the nation’s highway infrastructure? So bad, tires on FedEx trucks last only half as long as they did 20 years ago, as they deteriorate rapidly from crumbling pavement and get more flats from gaping potholes.

Bridge linking Pennsylvania, New Jersey turnpikes to stay closed 2 more months

A heavily traveled bridge linking Pennsylvania and New Jersey that has a fractured steel truss is expected to remain closed for at least two more months, Pennsylvania Turnpike officials said Friday.

The turnpike commission told The Associated Press they are still trying to determine what went wrong with the Interstate 276 span over the Delaware River. The bridge could reopen in early April if a repair plan goes smoothly, they said.

$9M prep work to fix closed Delaware River Bridge begins

More than $9 million in contracts were awarded Tuesday to prepare the Delaware River Bridge between the New Jersey and Pennsylvania turnpikes for permanent repairs after it was closed two weeks ago, when a crack was found in a piece of support structure.

New Jersey Turnpike Authority commissioners approved a total of $9.15 million in contracts to build foundations and eight towers to jack up the bridge in preparation for repairs.

Delaware River bridge repairs progress, but mystery remains

Engineers in Pennsylvania and New Jersey faced a mystery as they investigated the cause of a fractured beam on the Delaware River Turnpike Bridge last month. Poring through more than 50 boxes of records on the bridge’s history, in addition to giving the bridge a close inspection, officials have gathered clues but aren’t ready to announce a cause.

The answer could have ramifications across the country for the maintenance of America’s aging infrastructure. Plug welds, used to patch excess holes, are a leading contender for creating a weak point in the beam, officials said.


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