Tag Archives: Pennsylvania Turnpike

The nation’s first superhighway, this toll road carries I-70, I-76 and I-276 on its mainline and I-476 on the Northeast Extension. Chronic bad management has left it with poor road conditions and too few lanes.

Ground finally broken on I-95/Pennsylvania Turnpike project

Officials break ground on major I-95/Turnpike linkPhillyBurbs.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.
Interstate 276, the eastern most number for the Pennsylvania TurnpikeInterstate 95, Pennsylvania shield

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 2012The Inky

OFFICIAL PROJECT WEB SITE

A Turnpike / I-95 Interchange ProjectPennsylvania Turnpike Commission

MORE FROM STEVE ANDERSON

Delaware Expressway (I-95)phillyroads.com

Pennsylvania Turnpike-Delaware River Extension (I-276)phillyroads.com

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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?

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Pennsylvania Auditor general concerned about green card scheme sought for Pa. Turnpike/I-95 funding

Financing for turnpike/I-95 connector concerns auditor generalThe 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.”

Interstate 276, the eastern most number for the Pennsylvania TurnpikeInterstate 95, Pennsylvania shieldYup, 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!

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Green card scheme sought for Pa. Turnpike/I-95 funding

Chinese investors to fund turnpike-I-95 connectionThe 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.

Ummmm, ooookkkkkaaaayyyy.

Some background — this interchange is really, really overdue. The project manager has been working on it since 1984!

Interstate 276, the eastern most number for the Pennsylvania TurnpikeInterstate 95, Pennsylvania shieldWhen 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

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NJ Turnpike expansion between exits 6 and 9 moving right along

DSC_0264
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

TollRoadsNews attacks Breezewood, Pa. and so do I


I think the fellow who does the TollRoadsNews blog must have gotten stuck in traffic going from the Pennsylvania Turnpike to Interstate 70 recently because he has a pretty angry post up about the non-direct connection. For the unfamiliar, Breezewood is the eastern end of the I-70/76 concurrency. I-70 splits off from the Pennsylvania Turnpike there to coninue its path to its Baltimore terminus. I-76 continues on the Pa. Turnpike to Harrisburg and Philadelphia. However, rather than being a direct interchange, as most interstate highway junctions, I-70 traffic is forced onto commercialized US 30 for several thousand feet. All attempts at correcting this have been thwarted. TRN offers some suppositions (Bud Shuster is involved) as to why and I’ll just say, if they had been said about Dan Snyder, TRN would be sued.

As a rule, I refuse stop at any of the Breezewood because that would reward bad behavior.

Surprisingly, TRN did not note that the speed limits on I-70 between Breezewood and Maryland are set to 55 MPH which is another money grab.

h/t Steve Anderson on Facebook

Highway markers from Shields Up!

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NPR special series focuses on I-95

Over the next couple of weekends, NPR is running a series called I-95: The Road Most Traveled. I-95 is the busiest interstate corridor with 100 million people living along it. I drive on about 3 miles of it every week day and have spent countless hours cruising up to New Jersey (though not much lately) and back on it. The current header of this blog includes the Woodrow Wilson Bridge which carries I-95 (and I-495) over the Potomac River.

The first part of the series At Last, I-95′s Missing Link Hits The Road, is about the portion of Interstate 95 in central New Jersey that never got built and the efforts to reroute the road. According to NYCroads.com’s Interstate 95 (Trenton Section) page (the best history of the road) the approximately 30 miles long section between I-295 north of Trenton and I-287 near Edison was dead in the water by 1979. Officially, the project was killed 1982 and Congress mandated that I-95 be routed onto the eastern end of Pennsylvania Turnpike into New Jersey and up the New Jersey Turnpike starting at interchange 6. Now, 28 years later, work is expected to begin on the I-95/Pennsylvania Turnpike interchange this fall. Completion is expected in 2017.

Interstate 95 Pennsylvania shieldBack in 1995, I exchanged a few emails with the project manager, Jeff Davis, and got on the newsletter mailing list. I figured then that the project would be done by now, as I am sure he did. He is featured in story and has been working on the project since 1984, his whole career.

Left unsaid was the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission/PennDot frustration in having to undertake this project because New Jersey did not build the road. I suppose that will be mitigated by the toll revenue that will come in once it is open. Also left unsaid by NPR was the need for a second crossing over the Delaware River.

Speculation has always centered on the New Jersey Turnpike authority supporting I-95 not be built, but I have never seen a published report about it. The new I-95 alignment may result in a traffic pattern changes. More travelers may choose to stick to mainline I-95 and go through Philadelphia instead of using the southern section of the N.J. Turnpike. By the way, widening between where I-95 will join the N.J. Turnpike at interchange 6, is planned north to interchange 9. I-95 has been routed on the N.J. Turnpike between interchange 10 and the northern terminus near the George Washington Bridge since the interstate highway system was founded.

The second part of the series is It’s The Heart That Keeps I-95′s Economy Pumping, about the Port of Savannah and Georgia’s widening of I-95.

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FTA says no to tolls on PA I-80

Tolls on I-80 deniedThe Collegian
U.S. rejects Pa.’s request for I-80 tollsThe Inky
U.S. says no to Interstate 80 tollsPost-Gazette
Lawmakers seek plan to fix roadsCDT
There will not be tolls along I-80 in Pennsylvania as proposed, the Federal Transportation Administrator blocked it.

I was all ready to call Pennsylvania the “tollbooth state” too.

Now, it seems likely that the Pennsylvania Turnpike will be privatized which still does not make much sense over the long term to me. Once again, as Jay Hancock suggested, this is a “pernicious national trend: transforming public utilities into private monopolies.”

Adding onto the gas tax probably makes the most sense to cover funding shortfalls, but I doubt enough people have the political courage to make that decision.

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Penna. Turnpike lease proposal information

Spanish firm offers $12.8 billion to lease turnpikeThe Inky
Gov. Ed Rendell released plans to lease the Pennsylvania Turnpike to a Spanish company. I still don’t understand how doing this makes sense other than providing an initial windfall. I hope it does not go through.

New Jersey and Delaware are thinking of doing the same thing to their turnpikes a. I hope it does not come to that because as Jay Hancock suggested, this is a “pernicious national trend: transforming public utilities into private monopolies.”

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Privatized Penna. Turnpike on the way?

Rendell expects to name turnpike lessee soonThe Inky
Good news — tolls on the federally funded Interstate 80 in Pennsylvania may not happen. The bad news is the reason why they won’t happen.

Gov. Ed Rendell is still pushing to lease the Pennsylvania Turnpike which essentially transforms a public utilities into private monopoly.* I am really skeptical that these things are good long-term deals for government or consumers. I may have to start shunpiking when I head to Happy Valley.

*Paraphrasing Jay Hancock of The Sun from an article I blogged about in January 2007.

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Pa. Turnpike not getting leased (for now)

The Post-Gazette reports that Gov. Ed Rendell has pulled back on his plans to privatize the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

David Jones (there he is again) isn’t going to be happy with this news as he has a long column in today’s Patriot-News detailing his recent experience with Turnpike ineptness and surly employees.

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