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Author Topic: On the enigma/perplexity that is Breezewood......  (Read 5947 times)

vdeane

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Re: On the enigma/perplexity that is Breezewood......
« Reply #25 on: October 31, 2019, 01:04:34 PM »

Thruway/Northway is a very Indirect Freeway-Freeway Interchange, and the stub for a much more direct connection is clearly there, but has not been connected. Hence the “Honorable Mention” tag
What's interesting is that the stub wasn't even originally for a Thruway connection anyways (though there's been at least one proposal to use it that way).  It was for the unbuilt Southside Route, which would have run parallel to the Thruway into I-787 (that's why Thruway exit 23 looks the way it does), with interchanges at US 9W, NY 85, and US 20.
http://nysroads.com/planned.php
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kphoger

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Re: On the enigma/perplexity that is Breezewood......
« Reply #26 on: November 01, 2019, 03:08:24 PM »


1. To elaborate, federal law prohibited interstate money from being used to connect to toll roads.  The PTC and PennDOT not wanting to use their own money, instead built separate adjacent interchanges just about everywhere.

I keep hearing this, but only PA seemed to have this problem.  Maybe simply because other states used 100% state funding if needed, and construction costs were a lot lower back then.

This conversation has happened before, of which I'm sure you're quite aware, considering you just posted a link contained therein.

there was a restriction written into the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956 that prevented the use of federal funds on direct interchanges with toll roads. States could use their own funds, but considering that every dollar that a state spent on an unapproved Interstate project was a lost opportunity to have that dollar matched nine times over by the federal government on an approved project, they had a major disincentive to do so—particularly in an era when the loudest public outcry (excluding the freeway resistance in urban cores) was to simply get more Interstate mileage open to traffic as quickly as possible.

The exception to the above prohibition, listed under Section 129(d) of the 1956 Act, was that a state could use the 90% federal funds to build a direct to a connection to a toll road if (and only if) the state agreed to remove tolls from the toll road when existing bond obligations had been retired. And so the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, not wishing to cease toll collection, did not exercise this option for I-70 at Breezewood, I-95 in Bristol, or anywhere else. The scenario is explained in this article by the FHWA.

In the other thread, this point—and even the truthfulness of the FHWA article—was challenged: If that was true, how did a number of other states build direct connections?

Wanting to know the answer myself, I wrote to Richard Weingroff, the FHWA employee who authored the above article. To my surprise, I got a detailed answer from him right away (on a weekend, no less). Here's an excerpt from that email:

Quote from: Weingroff, Richard (FHWA) - Sun, Jan 21, 2018 at 10:35 AM
(( text from e-mail removed by kphoger because posting private e-mails is against forum guidelines ))

In other words, the facilities listed above (without asterisks) took federal funds with the promise that they’d cease collecting tolls under the terms of the agreement, but when “toll-free” day finally drew near, they reneged on their pledges. And as you can see, that list includes most long-distance toll roads in E-ZPass Land with the notable exceptions of Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey.

Where PA, NY, and NJ have built direct Interstate connections to their toll roads, it was either by self-funding (during the years of original Interstate construction) or through one-off funding appropriations for individual projects. For example, the PA Turnpike’s direct connection to I-79 was given approximately 45% federal funding with the remaining 55% split between the PTC and PennDOT (according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette).

That is very interesting, so that explains how different states addressed the connection of Interstates to turnpikes.  Some followed the 1956 system for federal aid, some gamed the system, and some built the connections without federal funds or perhaps with other lower level funds such as 50:50 primary funding.
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hbelkins

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Re: On the enigma/perplexity that is Breezewood......
« Reply #27 on: November 02, 2019, 05:15:53 PM »


Quote from: Weingroff, Richard (FHWA) - Sun, Jan 21, 2018 at 10:35 AM
(( text from e-mail removed by kphoger because posting private e-mails is against forum guidelines ))

I can understand doing this if it was between two forum members, or a forum member and a non-member private citizen, but an email from a government employee is a public record. I'd think a correspondence from a transportation agency employee should be exempt from this forum guideline.
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1995hoo

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Re: On the enigma/perplexity that is Breezewood......
« Reply #28 on: November 02, 2019, 05:27:25 PM »

You can still read the text kphoger removed. Just open the original post in the other thread. (I presume the moderators don’t object or else they’d have edited it earlier.)
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Mr_Northside

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Re: On the enigma/perplexity that is Breezewood......
« Reply #29 on: November 07, 2019, 08:22:38 AM »

I do wonder if PennDOT had intentions of some kind of connection being done at some point when they built "free" I-70......
Mostly I just wonder if there is a reason the median "bulges" out like it does right before it squeezes to the US-30 signal.
Most of I-70 has a pretty consistent median with between Breezewood & MD - it widens a bit for the ascents / descents of Town Hill (where the carriageways are at different elevations), but it has no other real wider spots like it does briefly right before US-30.
I've just kind of always wondered why (if there is a reason).


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skluth

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Re: On the enigma/perplexity that is Breezewood......
« Reply #30 on: November 07, 2019, 05:25:42 PM »


Quote from: Weingroff, Richard (FHWA) - Sun, Jan 21, 2018 at 10:35 AM
(( text from e-mail removed by kphoger because posting private e-mails is against forum guidelines ))

I can understand doing this if it was between two forum members, or a forum member and a non-member private citizen, but an email from a government employee is a public record. I'd think a correspondence from a transportation agency employee should be exempt from this forum guideline.

Email from a government employee is an official record. That doesn't necessarily make it public. Examples include anything containing personal information (e.g., SSN or address) and anything marked FOUO (For Official Use Only). Also, any email from a classified system regardless of classification will also not be public record.
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briantroutman

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Re: On the enigma/perplexity that is Breezewood......
« Reply #31 on: November 07, 2019, 05:37:16 PM »


Quote from: Weingroff, Richard (FHWA) - Sun, Jan 21, 2018 at 10:35 AM
(( text from e-mail removed by kphoger because posting private e-mails is against forum guidelines ))

I can understand doing this if it was between two forum members, or a forum member and a non-member private citizen, but an email from a government employee is a public record. I'd think a correspondence from a transportation agency employee should be exempt from this forum guideline.

Email from a government employee is an official record. That doesn't necessarily make it public. Examples include anything containing personal information (e.g., SSN or address) and anything marked FOUO (For Official Use Only). Also, any email from a classified system regardless of classification will also not be public record.

For what it’s worth—wanting to be completely respectful of communication that might be construed as being private—I explicitly asked for Mr. Weingroff’s permission before posting that text.

Quote from: Brian Troutman - Sun, Jan 21, 2018 at 11:19 AM
Would you mind if I share an excerpt of your email with my fellow roadgeeks? It would go a long way to clearing up some misconceptions and ending some wild speculation.

Quote from: Weingroff, Richard (FHWA) - Mon, Jan 22, 2018 at 8:30 AM
Any information - hopefully, accurate information - I provide is in the public domain
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lepidopteran

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Re: On the enigma/perplexity that is Breezewood......
« Reply #32 on: November 12, 2019, 10:50:46 PM »

Going on a tangent here:  Now that the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission has announced they are doing away with cash toll collection, I think it's time to really re-design Breezewood.  My suggestions:
  • At a minimum, build a high-speed ramp for I-70 EB through traffic, but put it on the PATP mainline, not on the "old" road.  This will reduce the usage of that treacherous trumpet ramp with the truck-tipping warning.  I would also suggest a similar ramp for I-70 WB, but that would be too close the existing interchange, unless there were C/D lanes added.
     
  • Get rid of the existing trumpet interchange and toll plaza altogether, and abandon the rest of the old turnpike.  Then build gently-curved, high-speed ramps in both directions of I-70.  For the current I-70 north of the pike, have a signalized (or barbell) diamond interchange direct from the mainline, safely out of the way of the high-speed merge.  Of course, this would mean that WB->EB traffic and vice-versa wouldn't be all-freeway, but is there really that much traffic that goes that way?
     
  • In addition to the above, abandon the stub of I-70 north of the pike.  Then build either a high-speed T-interchange, or a wide trumpet favoring the I-70 WB movement.  For US-30 access, all traffic would be directed to Breezewood Rd.; but since that exit would have to be moved further south to accommodate the new high-speed connection under current standards, it might be better to close the B-wood exit (or convert it to a half-interchange to/from the south) and build a new diamond interchange where the pike mainline crosses US-30 to the east of there.
P.S.  Any improvements to the current Breezewood Rd. exit should be designed accommodate relocated restaurants, gas stations, etc..  There are currently 1 or 2 (abandoned) motels in that vicinity.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2019, 10:54:04 PM by lepidopteran »
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