Officials break ground on major I-95/Turnpike link – PhillyBurbs.com
This week, a ceremonial groundbreaking was held for Stage 1 of the interchange that will connect Interstate 95 with the Pennsylvania Turnpike (Interstate 276) in Eastern Pennsylvania. When completed (projected to be 2018) I-95 will be rerouted onto the eastern end of the Pa. Turnpike to the New Jersey Turnpike which will finally make it continuous from Miami, Fla. to Houlton, Maine.
The interchange (which should have been built decades ago, regardless of the decision to cancel the original I-95 alignment between Philadelphia in New York in Central New Jersey nycroads.com) was mandated by Congress in 1982. The footdragging by the Pa. Turnpike Commission has been incredible. While I understand their disappointment in having to build this because Jersey didn’t build their 30 miles of I-95, the interchange should have been there period.
By the way, the NJ and PA Turnpikes collected the most revenue last year: NJ, Pa. turnpikes collected most toll money in North America in 2012 – The Inky
OFFICIAL PROJECT WEB SITE
A Turnpike / I-95 Interchange Project – Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission
MORE FROM STEVE ANDERSON
Delaware Expressway (I-95) – phillyroads.com
Pennsylvania Turnpike-Delaware River Extension (I-276) – phillyroads.com
Pennsylvania Auditor general concerned about green card scheme sought for Pa. Turnpike/I-95 funding
Green card scheme sought for Pa. Turnpike/I-95 funding
NJ Turnpike expansion between exits 6 and 9 moving right along
NPR special series focuses on I-95
Is it just me or is it odd that neither the Inky or Philly Daily News covered this groundbreaking?
Financing for turnpike/I-95 connector concerns auditor general – The Inky
In not-all-surprising news, that Pennsylvania Turnpike/I-95 green card scheme has gotten the attention of Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale.
DePasquale said he was especially interested in why an entity was created to broker the deal, in which wealthy foreign investors would lend the turnpike $200 million in exchange for possible permanent residence in the United States.
DePasquale said his office was legally bound to wait until a transaction is completed before launching an audit, so “it may be several months or longer” before he formally investigates the turnpike plan.
“I am going to follow this situation carefully,” DePasquale said. “It raises some alarms. I’m not taking a position that it’s wrong yet. . . . We’ll wait till the issue is ripe for an audit.”
Yup, it is all weird.
I understand Pennsylvania being unhappy about having to build this connection since it was New Jersey that cancelled a nearly 30 mile stretch of I-95, but the Pennsylvania Turnpike should have built a connection with I-95 years ago anyway. The foot dragging has been going on for about 30 years.
Also, weren’t toll authorities designed to avoid this kind of nonsense? Perhaps raising federal and state gas taxes by a few cents might not be a bad idea either. Heaven forbid we pay several more cents per gallon (we’re paying a whopping 18.3¢ a gallon (over $3.60 where I live) right now for 21st century infrastructure.
Interstate shields courtesy of Shields Up!
Chinese investors to fund turnpike-I-95 connection – The Inky
The multi-generational saga to build an interchange between the I-276/Pennsylvania Turnpike and Interstate 95/Delaware Expressway just got weirder:
To help pay for the construction of the long-awaited connection between the Pennsylvania Turnpike and I-95, turnpike officials plan to borrow $200 million from wealthy foreign investors.
The investors, expected to be primarily from China, could get green cards for themselves and their families to live in the United States in exchange for their money.
Some background — this interchange is really, really overdue. The project manager has been working on it since 1984!
When the interstate highway system was built, the Pennsylvania Turnpike avoided building direct connections with the new interstate highways. The lack of a direct connection with the eastern part of the Pa. Turnpike and I-95 became particularly troublesome when I-95 through Central New Jersey was cancelled. I-95 was to be re-routed onto the last few miles of the Pa. Turnpike to connect it with the New Jersey Turnpike. That was planned over 30 years ago. The Pennsylvania Turnpike commission has been dragging its feet on construction, because they were happy about having to build it, even though they’ll get toll revenue for it. Now, this crazy scheme.
The first part of the interchange is expected to be completed in 2017.
I still like Terry Madonna’s idea better (need to update it a little though): Madonna: Hugo Chavez should lease Pa. Turnpike
Photo by I.C. Ligget – The control cities are weak, should be Del Mem Br/Baltimore/Washington
Working to end the bottlenecks – The Inky
The extension of the New Jersey Turnpike car-bus-truck lanes southward to Exit 6, the Pennsylvania Turnpike interchange is progressing well.
Billed as the biggest ongoing roadway project in the United States, the undertaking will transform the turnpike into a 12-lane highway from the Pennsylvania Turnpike Connector at Exit 6 in Burlington County to Exit 9 in New Brunswick, where it is already that wide.
Trucks and buses will be restricted to the three outer lanes in each direction; only cars will be allowed in the three inside lanes in each direction.
Currently, about 130,000 vehicles a day use the 35-mile turnpike stretch in the work zone.
With a price tag of $2.5 billion – all of it from tolls – the widening work has created thousands of jobs on and off site since work began in 2009 and is costlier than any individual highway project that was undertaken with federal stimulus funding.
The Turnpike Authority’s chief engineer, Rich Raczynski, says the project is two-thirds complete and on target to be finished by fall 2014…
…Actual planning for the project dates to 2004, and Raczynski said the intervening financial crisis had worked in the authority’s favor.
“The economic collapse helped us,” he said. “The heavy-construction industry in the state of New Jersey basically dried up, and we were the only ones pushing work out at the time. “When you get contractors who are desperate for work, they really sharpen their pencils,” Raczynski said. “We’ve been averaging 20 percent below our estimates with the bids we’ve been getting. The actual project cost right now is lower than we anticipated.”
Left unsaid (why is it always left unsaid?) is that a big reason for the widening is the realignment of Interstate 95 along the far eastern portion to the Pennsylvania Turnpike to the New Jersey Turnpike. That project, which dates back to the 1980s, continues to move along slowly. Steve Anderson of nycroads.com noted there was no apparent construction underway there yet.
So, the NJ Turnpike is going widen 35 miles of roadway — essentially a whole new road parallel to the existing one in 10 years. The PA Turnpike is taking over 30 to build an interchange and parallel crossing of the Delaware River. #NJFTW
OFFICIAL WEB SITES
A HAT TIP TO STEVE ANDERSON FOR THE LINK, CHECK OUT HIS COVERAGE