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Author Topic: PA Turnpike News  (Read 530717 times)

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #225 on: January 04, 2012, 12:31:37 AM »

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #226 on: January 04, 2012, 03:32:40 PM »

But achieving the same thing for the other tunnels (Blue, Kittatinny, Tuscarora, and Lehigh) would be either be extremely difficult (to the point of being not feasible) or impossible.

I'd have to agree with that.  I imagine, even if all the sections around those tunnels are 6-laned, those will be still be 4 lanes for many years to come.
I wonder what would be involved with widening a tunnel to 3 lanes (other than the major traffic disruptions while construction is occurring)
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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #227 on: January 04, 2012, 10:40:56 PM »

But achieving the same thing for the other tunnels (Blue, Kittatinny, Tuscarora, and Lehigh) would be either be extremely difficult (to the point of being not feasible) or impossible.

I'd have to agree with that.  I imagine, even if all the sections around those tunnels are 6-laned, those will be still be 4 lanes for many years to come.
I wonder what would be involved with widening a tunnel to 3 lanes (other than the major traffic disruptions while construction is occurring)

If the segments of the Penna. Turnpike leading up to the tunnel portals are widened to six (or more) lanes, then it might make operational (but maybe not fiscal) sense to bore two additional tubes through the mountains? 

That would allow (relatively) easy maintenance of any given tube (consider that the Maryland Transportation Authority frequently closes one of the two lane tubes of the Fort McHenry Tunnel (which has a total of four two-lane tubes) for maintenance in the overnight hours). 
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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #228 on: January 05, 2012, 08:16:45 AM »

But achieving the same thing for the other tunnels (Blue, Kittatinny, Tuscarora, and Lehigh) would be either be extremely difficult (to the point of being not feasible) or impossible.

I'd have to agree with that.  I imagine, even if all the sections around those tunnels are 6-laned, those will be still be 4 lanes for many years to come.
I wonder what would be involved with widening a tunnel to 3 lanes (other than the major traffic disruptions while construction is occurring)

If the segments of the Penna. Turnpike leading up to the tunnel portals are widened to six (or more) lanes, then it might make operational (but maybe not fiscal) sense to bore two additional tubes through the mountains? 

That would allow (relatively) easy maintenance of any given tube (consider that the Maryland Transportation Authority frequently closes one of the two lane tubes of the Fort McHenry Tunnel (which has a total of four two-lane tubes) for maintenance in the overnight hours). 

Widening a 2-lane tube to 3 lanes would probably not be less expensive than building a new 3-lane tube.

They could build a pair of new 3-lane tubes, and close the original tubes.  The advantage here is that the tunnels would match the number of lanes of the widened 6-lane turnpike.

Or --

They could build a pair of 2-lane tubes, and incorporate the existing pair of 2-lane tubes into a 2-2-2-2 lane configuration.  The advantage here is that it would undoubtably have much lower construction costs than the first alternative.
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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #229 on: January 05, 2012, 12:51:55 PM »

But achieving the same thing for the other tunnels (Blue, Kittatinny, Tuscarora, and Lehigh) would be either be extremely difficult (to the point of being not feasible) or impossible.

I'd have to agree with that.  I imagine, even if all the sections around those tunnels are 6-laned, those will be still be 4 lanes for many years to come.
I wonder what would be involved with widening a tunnel to 3 lanes (other than the major traffic disruptions while construction is occurring)

If the segments of the Penna. Turnpike leading up to the tunnel portals are widened to six (or more) lanes, then it might make operational (but maybe not fiscal) sense to bore two additional tubes through the mountains? 

That would allow (relatively) easy maintenance of any given tube (consider that the Maryland Transportation Authority frequently closes one of the two lane tubes of the Fort McHenry Tunnel (which has a total of four two-lane tubes) for maintenance in the overnight hours). 

The other potential advantage to the multiple-tube configuration is that it allows for shutting down one tube in the event of an accident or other problem. You still get traffic problems, but it's not as bad as when something happens halfway through a single-tube tunnel. If you've ever been stuck in the Allegheny Tunnel because someone has a flat tire (happened the last time I went through there), you know what I mean, but I'm thinking in terms of more severe stuff like crashes or an incident where the tunnel might be damaged. The extra tube allows them to maintain tunnel operations even if they have to shut down the affected tube. (I suppose again the Fort McHenry Tunnel is a fine example in that its opening allowed them to shut down portions of the Harbor Tunnel for extended periods for rehabilitation, and I suspect a 2-2-2-2 setup might allow the PTC to do the same thing with their existing tunnels.)
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« Last Edit: January 05, 2012, 08:27:36 PM by PAHighways »
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Beltway

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #231 on: January 05, 2012, 08:30:55 PM »

The other potential advantage to the multiple-tube configuration is that it allows for shutting down one tube in the event of an accident or other problem. You still get traffic problems, but it's not as bad as when something happens halfway through a single-tube tunnel. If you've ever been stuck in the Allegheny Tunnel because someone has a flat tire (happened the last time I went through there), you know what I mean, but I'm thinking in terms of more severe stuff like crashes or an incident where the tunnel might be damaged. The extra tube allows them to maintain tunnel operations even if they have to shut down the affected tube. (I suppose again the Fort McHenry Tunnel is a fine example in that its opening allowed them to shut down portions of the Harbor Tunnel for extended periods for rehabilitation, and I suspect a 2-2-2-2 setup might allow the PTC to do the same thing with their existing tunnels.)

Twin tube tunnels have the provision for temporarily closing a tube and maintaining 2-way traffic.  The approach roadways have median crossovers so that 2-way traffic can be handled in one of the tubes.

I experienced this once in the original Baltimore Harbor Tunnel, back in the 1970s.  It was late evening and it seemed odd, but with no real congestion.  FYI, that was before the I-95 tunnel existed.

I will grant that closing a tube on a 2-2-2-2 tunnel would not be nearly as impacting to traffic as closing a tube on a 2-2 tunnel.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2012, 08:32:40 PM by Beltway »
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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #232 on: January 05, 2012, 09:14:34 PM »

How about what the Lincoln Tunnel does, 2-2-2? The center tube would normally operate 1/1, but can be converted to 2/0 if one of the other tubes closes.

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #233 on: January 05, 2012, 10:46:29 PM »

How about what the Lincoln Tunnel does, 2-2-2? The center tube would normally operate 1/1, but can be converted to 2/0 if one of the other tubes closes.

Does the Lincoln Tunnel operate that way?

I thought that the center tube runs with both lanes in the direction of peak traffic.
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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #234 on: January 05, 2012, 11:44:26 PM »

Auditor general says Turnpike Commission 'in jeopardy' - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Pa. Turnpike Chief Responds to Auditor General Wagner’s Claims of Financial Chaos

This is disturbing.  If I was a holder of Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission-issued bonds, I would be more than disturbed, I would be angry.

Perhaps it's time to end the generous subsidies that the PTC passes along to PennDOT (and I understand that much of the money ends up going to urban transit agencies like SEPTA and the Port Authority of Allegheny County)?
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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #235 on: January 06, 2012, 02:00:08 PM »

Perhaps it's time to end the generous subsidies that the PTC passes along to PennDOT (and I understand that much of the money ends up going to urban transit agencies like SEPTA and the Port Authority of Allegheny County)?

I agree.  Though I do believe the only way to to get that done is to repeal Act 44.
Ironically, one of the biggest (if not the biggest) components of Act 44, tolling I-80, was rejected because it would fund stuff other than I-80.  Instead, the Turnpike, which was self-sufficient, now has to give the state (via higher tolls from TPK users) money (a generous amount, as you put it) for stuff other than the Turnpike.

I get that the way things are let that happen, as I-80 was built with federal money, and federal rules apply to it that do not with the Turnpike.... But I have to say that this current situation -- and I'll admit to bias since I use the TPK frequently and I-80 rarely -- right now is BULLSHIT.
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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #236 on: January 06, 2012, 04:18:47 PM »

Is it allowed in PA to ask voters to approve an incremental sales tax addition for transportation like in san Diego?  It is my understanding that Allegheny county has a 1% dedicated sales tax to finance the stadiums, that was voter approved, if so why not try a 1/4% sales tax for transportation?
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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #237 on: January 06, 2012, 05:14:38 PM »

I get that the way things are let that happen, as I-80 was built with federal money, and federal rules apply to it that do not with the Turnpike.... But I have to say that this current situation -- and I'll admit to bias since I use the TPK frequently and I-80 rarely -- right now is BULLSHIT.

Well, as the Feds rarely give up power, the only way this will be balanced is if the Feds regulate the PTC as well.  Do you really want that?  IMHO, that would only make things even worse than they are now.

And, I'll admit to my bias as I use I-80 a few times a year and my dad uses it frequently while we rarely use the PTC and NEVER any transit services.  And, with the latest PTC cash-only increases, the next time I have to go between Bloomsburg and say the Philly airport, I plan on shunpiking.  Instead of I-476 to I-80, I'll likely take I-476 to US 422 (via I-76 and US 202) to Reading, take one of the Reading bypasses and PA 61 and PA 42 to Bloomsburg.

EDIT:
What about kicking out the idiots who passed Act 44?  Since they are most likely from Philly or Pittsburgh, it should be relatively easy to do.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2012, 05:29:39 PM by mightyace »
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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #238 on: January 06, 2012, 06:15:18 PM »

The standard solutions are already being thrown about:  raise gas tax, raise registration, raise driver license fees, etc.
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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #239 on: January 06, 2012, 09:43:51 PM »

The bottom line here is that in Pennsylvania, as in most other states, politics trumps common sense!  :banghead:
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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #240 on: January 07, 2012, 10:17:39 AM »

And, with the latest PTC cash-only increases, the next time I have to go between Bloomsburg and say the Philly airport, I plan on shunpiking.  Instead of I-476 to I-80, I'll likely take I-476 to US 422 (via I-76 and US 202) to Reading, take one of the Reading bypasses and PA 61 and PA 42 to Bloomsburg.
Careful your tires don't melt! ;) :D

I've wanted to give that a try, but despite being thru that corridor 3 times, I've only done PA662 &  PA73
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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #241 on: January 07, 2012, 02:27:34 PM »

In general, I am skeptical of pretty much ANY report that a partisan state auditor releases, mainly because elected auditors can and do use their offices and positions for political purposes. (It happened with Kentucky's elected Auditor of Public Accounts many times during her recently-concluded eight-year tenure).

But it looks to me like this report is more critical of Act 44 than the PTC itself. Sounds to me like the PA auditor general is trying to score political points by pushing for the repeal of Act 44, and pandering to the public sentiment opposing the toll increases.
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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #242 on: January 07, 2012, 05:13:39 PM »

How about what the Lincoln Tunnel does, 2-2-2? The center tube would normally operate 1/1, but can be converted to 2/0 if one of the other tubes closes.

Does the Lincoln Tunnel operate that way?

I thought that the center tube runs with both lanes in the direction of peak traffic.

Off-peak and on the weekend the Lincoln Tunnel and NJ 495 leading up to it operates with three lanes in each direction. During rush hours, one lane of the reverse-peak roadway is cannibalized for a contraflow bus lane, and this operation continues into the tunnel. So, you have the two outer tubes carrying two lanes of general traffic in their respective direction, and the center tube carrying a lane of general traffic plus a bus lane in the peak direction.

The Turnpike tunnels don't have directional peaking issues, nor is the Turnpike likely to be designed to have the contraflow setup NJ 495 has - so a three tube system would likely operate 2-1/1-2 all the time, with the option to close one tube at a time for maintenance or in case of emergency.
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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #243 on: January 07, 2012, 07:25:04 PM »

Yakra,

Thank you for pointing out Centralia but, as a native of NE PA, please don't make light of it. 

Yes, the mine fire is still burning and PA 61 goes through there but, it's not funny.  I suggest you take that drive there and you'll see it.

Non-toll alternates to Philly International not worth the extra gas and time spent.  Yeah, the tolls are high but, take into account the extra gas alone and it's not worth it.
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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #244 on: January 07, 2012, 08:04:54 PM »

Yakra,

Thank you for pointing out Centralia but, as a native of NE PA, please don't make light of it. 
Where there's heat there's light...
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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #245 on: January 07, 2012, 09:48:42 PM »

The standard solutions are already being thrown about:  raise gas tax, raise registration, raise driver license fees, etc.

I have had a look at some of the recommendations from the governor's Transportation Funding Advisory Commission.  It does not state whether the fuel tax is protected from diversion (only that the Pennsylvania constitution prohibits use of the fuel tax for mass transit), or go into details on any state/local split that may be involved.  Pennsylvania however has a fairly high marginal fuel tax (32c/gallon, variously described as 13th or 14th highest in the US).  A graph on page 11 of the report suggests that about $5 billion is spent annually on transportation needs in Pennsylvania, broken up among various agencies.  A table on page 12 says that PennDOT's current funding from the Motor License Fund (its only funding source?) is $2.3 billion.  The Pennsylvania State Police gets $556 million from the same source.  (Why so much on law enforcement?)

The report presents a bottom-line scenario in which funding gaps are met at an added cost to the typical driver (from uncapping of the oil franchise tax, slightly higher annual cost to keep a valid driver's license, etc.) of 70c per week.  It does not, however, address the question of whether PennDOT (and other transportation providers in Pennsylvania) spend perhaps too much on lightly used roads and bridges which should be downgraded, load-posted, or abandoned.  It also evades the explosive question of PennDOT's total factor productivity compared to peer state DOTs.
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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #246 on: January 07, 2012, 10:18:40 PM »

Off-peak and on the weekend the Lincoln Tunnel and NJ 495 leading up to it operates with three lanes in each direction. During rush hours, one lane of the reverse-peak roadway is cannibalized for a contraflow bus lane, and this operation continues into the tunnel. So, you have the two outer tubes carrying two lanes of general traffic in their respective direction, and the center tube carrying a lane of general traffic plus a bus lane in the peak direction.

The Turnpike tunnels don't have directional peaking issues, nor is the Turnpike likely to be designed to have the contraflow setup NJ 495 has - so a three tube system would likely operate 2-1/1-2 all the time, with the option to close one tube at a time for maintenance or in case of emergency.

Routine 2-way traffic in a tube on an Interstate highway, would not meet Interstate standards, though.
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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #247 on: January 08, 2012, 11:10:18 AM »

Routine 2-way traffic in a tube on an Interstate highway, would not meet Interstate standards, though.

Why not?
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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #248 on: January 08, 2012, 03:41:53 PM »

Yakra,

Thank you for pointing out Centralia but, as a native of NE PA, please don't make light of it. 

Yes, the mine fire is still burning and PA 61 goes through there but, it's not funny.  I suggest you take that drive there and you'll see it.

Might be something worthy of a meet sometime.
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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #249 on: January 08, 2012, 09:50:22 PM »

Routine 2-way traffic in a tube on an Interstate highway, would not meet Interstate standards, though.

Why not?

Interstate standards include having opposing traffic divided by a median, and with at least 2 lanes each way.
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