Category Archives: i-99

i-99 finally opened yesterday, but…

I-99 open to all trafficCDT
i-99 is now a continous route between just north of the I-70/76 (Pennsylvania Turnpike) near Bedford and near I-80 north of Bellefonte. The new section, opened yesterday (two days after the last Penn State football game naturally), does not have all four lanes open though.

Former Rep. Bud Shuster, who pushed for i-99 and got the designation written into law (setting precedent and expanding the role of Congress) was at the opening. Apparetly, left unsaid was an apology to drivers and taxpayers for legislating away envirornmental testing. The highway was delayed for years and ran up about $80 million of extra cost due to necessary environmental remediation. It is said he has not been accountable at all for his behavior.

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i-99 northbound now open through Skytop

Traffic flows over section of SkytopCDT
Another milestone in the poorly executed i-99 project is complete — northbound is now continuous through Skytop. The road narrows to one lane at one point, but the highway’s northbound is now continuous from Bedford County to just south of I-80. Both directions of the highway is supposed to be complete by Thanksgiving, but I’ll believe it when I see it.

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All i-99 lanes are scheduled to be open by Thanksgiving

PennDOT: All I-99 lanes to open by ThanksgivingCDT
All four lanes of i-99 between Port Matilda and I-80 are now expected to be open by Thanksgiving also known as after football season. I will believe it when I see it. I am also interested in how much money was wasted on this project because Bud Shuster decided that following environmental laws would delay the project.

By the way not a plan for the interchange with I-80 and locals are divided over what would be the best design. It seems like a moot point since there is not any funding though.

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i-99 on schedule to open 4 years, $79 million late

I-99 set to open by year’s endCDT
The latest update on i-99 progress — it is expected to open before the end of the year, but after football season. Parts of the new section may be limited to one lane each way until next spring too.

Don’t forget that this delay may have been avoided had standard environmental testing not been exempted by a rider placed by Bud Shuster, then chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, in an omnibus spending bill. By the way, Shuster has not responded to repeated inquiries from CDT reporter Mike Joseph to talk about this situation.

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PennDOT eyes 99 completion by end of year

Highway on schedule to open at year’s endCDT
The debacle that is the i-99 construction may finally be over be New Year’s.

On the way to Blue White we drove up the new section between Bald Eagle and Skytop. It was functional, but the Port Matilda interchange had very steep ramps.

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Why the new i-99 really isn’t i-99

When the new sections of i-99 near Port Matilda opened up last month, I noted that none of the signs had i-99 shields on them. In his i-99 Q&A forum, CDT reporter Mike Joseph explained why:

Q: I just saw the article today about the new highway finally opening, and in all 8 pictures you have, there are none that show an I-99 shield. Is PennDOT waiting till they have the highway fully open all the way to I-80, or are they being lazy and not putting I-99 shields up? I saw they had the directional banners for I-99 up, but not the shields. So, is I-99 still going to end down in Bald Eagle for now while US-220 continues on the new highway till late 2008?
James Mast, Pittsburgh, Pa 12/17/07

A: After I-99 is complete, it will take aan act of Congress to designate the road an interstate highway and, more specifically, Intertstate 99. The sections of I-99 in Bedford and Blair counties were completed when U.S. Rep. Bud Shuster, R-Bedford, was still in Congress. He resigned in 2001.
Mike Joseph 12/19/07

Had the traditional method of assigning interstate numbers (AASHTO)been undertaken in the first place, this probably wouldn’t have been a problem and the road would have had a proper number like I-270 or I-876. Of course, the numbering of the route is the least of the problems that Bud Shuster created by making his own rules when it came to road known as the Bud Shuster Highway.

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