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Author Topic: PA Turnpike News  (Read 595454 times)

Crown Victoria

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2400 on: March 20, 2020, 12:44:30 PM »

In better news, the PTC has posted some details about the upcoming reconstruction and widening of the NE Extension between the Quakertown and Lehigh Valley interchanges:

https://www.patpconstruction.com/mpa44toa57/
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Beltway

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2401 on: March 20, 2020, 08:01:35 PM »

In better news, the PTC has posted some details about the upcoming reconstruction and widening of the NE Extension between the Quakertown and Lehigh Valley interchanges:
https://www.patpconstruction.com/mpa44toa57/
That would be great … the first time I have seen a plan to widen and rebuild that third segment up to US-22.

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission is planning to reconstruct and widen the Northeastern Extension from milepost (MP) A44 in Bucks County to MP A57 in Lehigh County.
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Crown Victoria

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2402 on: March 21, 2020, 12:12:34 PM »

In better news, the PTC has posted some details about the upcoming reconstruction and widening of the NE Extension between the Quakertown and Lehigh Valley interchanges:
https://www.patpconstruction.com/mpa44toa57/
That would be great … the first time I have seen a plan to widen and rebuild that third segment up to US-22.

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission is planning to reconstruct and widen the Northeastern Extension from milepost (MP) A44 in Bucks County to MP A57 in Lehigh County.

Looks like about 8 years to do all the overhead bridges, followed by the reconstructions...my guess is it'll be the mid-2030s at the earliest before this stretch is fully complete.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2020, 12:14:37 PM by Crown Victoria »
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ixnay

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2403 on: March 21, 2020, 06:48:41 PM »

What about adding lanes from Lansdale to Quakertown?

ixnay
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RobbieL2415

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2404 on: March 21, 2020, 07:00:08 PM »

What about adding lanes from Lansdale to Quakertown?

ixnay
The one time I drove I-476 from Lansdale to Allentown it was bumper-to-bumper.
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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2405 on: March 21, 2020, 07:02:54 PM »

What about adding lanes from Lansdale to Quakertown?

ixnay
The one time I drove I-476 from Lansdale to Allentown it was bumper-to-bumper.
Thanksgiving weekend when I went to visit my grandparents in NEPA, I didn't encounter much traffic at all.  But then again, I left Dover at 6am.
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Beltway

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2406 on: March 21, 2020, 07:17:44 PM »

What about adding lanes from Lansdale to Quakertown?
The one time I drove I-476 from Lansdale to Allentown it was bumper-to-bumper.
The southern NE Extension has surprisingly high volumes considering the very wide interchange spacing and the fact that it is not a major superhighway on the order of the east-west turnpike.

2017 data AADT --
67,000  between I-276 and Lansdale
51,000  between Lansdale and Quakertown
46,000  between Quakertown and US-22

All warrants the total rebuild to modern 6-lane cross-section, IMHO, even by today's volumes, let alone the needs on a 20-year design horizon, and it is an antiquated highway that was opened in 1957.

I drove it in 2019 and the newly widened section is super.
 
« Last Edit: March 21, 2020, 07:20:35 PM by Beltway »
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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2407 on: March 21, 2020, 08:27:29 PM »

2017 data AADT --
67,000  between I-276 and Lansdale
51,000  between Lansdale and Quakertown
46,000  between Quakertown and US-22

Let's hope it gets that amount of ridership with the opening of the Scranton Beltway. 81 is a bitch up there.
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Crown Victoria

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2408 on: March 21, 2020, 08:50:55 PM »

What about adding lanes from Lansdale to Quakertown?
The one time I drove I-476 from Lansdale to Allentown it was bumper-to-bumper.
The southern NE Extension has surprisingly high volumes considering the very wide interchange spacing and the fact that it is not a major superhighway on the order of the east-west turnpike.

2017 data AADT --
67,000  between I-276 and Lansdale
51,000  between Lansdale and Quakertown
46,000  between Quakertown and US-22

All warrants the total rebuild to modern 6-lane cross-section, IMHO, even by today's volumes, let alone the needs on a 20-year design horizon, and it is an antiquated highway that was opened in 1957.

I drove it in 2019 and the newly widened section is super.

The widening of the NE Extension between Lansdale and Quakertown is in progress.  The southern half of that section will hopefully be finished later this year, with the rest of the way to Quakertown starting not long after.

The widened sections of the Turnpike are indeed super!  Amazing what a difference 6 lanes and proper shoulder widths (inside and outside) makes.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2409 on: March 22, 2020, 09:08:51 PM »

I drove it in 2019 and the newly widened section is super.

I have driven nearly all of the PTC system (I am missing at least one section in Southwest Pennsylvania that goes to the airport), and the reconstructed part of I-476 north of I-276 is a gigantic improvement over most of the rest of the Turnpike's roads - even some sections that have already been through total reconstruction are not as good as the reconstructed part of the Northeast Extension.
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Beltway

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2410 on: March 22, 2020, 10:27:06 PM »

I have driven nearly all of the PTC system (I am missing at least one section in Southwest Pennsylvania that goes to the airport), and the reconstructed part of I-476 north of I-276 is a gigantic improvement over most of the rest of the Turnpike's roads - even some sections that have already been through total reconstruction are not as good as the reconstructed part of the Northeast Extension.
The standard is three 12-foot lanes each way and 12-foot right and left shoulders, and a tall concrete median barrier.

The 4 mile section just west of the Susquehanna River was completed about a year ago, same standard.

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Crown Victoria

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« Last Edit: April 17, 2020, 08:18:43 PM by Crown Victoria »
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cpzilliacus

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2412 on: April 18, 2020, 09:30:21 AM »

The PTC is reviewing its spending in light of current events:

https://www.post-gazette.com/news/transportation/2020/04/16/Pennsylvania-Turnpike-COVID-19-low-traffic-revenue-capital-transit-payments/stories/202004160144


PTC toll revenue for March 2020:

https://www.paturnpike.com/business/investors_fcr.aspx

Wonder if anyone in power in Pennsylvania will consider the suspension of transit subsidy payments from PTC to PennDOT for the duration of the current public health and economic crisis?
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jeffandnicole

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2413 on: April 18, 2020, 09:53:35 AM »

The PTC is reviewing its spending in light of current events:

https://www.post-gazette.com/news/transportation/2020/04/16/Pennsylvania-Turnpike-COVID-19-low-traffic-revenue-capital-transit-payments/stories/202004160144


PTC toll revenue for March 2020:

https://www.paturnpike.com/business/investors_fcr.aspx

Wonder if anyone in power in Pennsylvania will consider the suspension of transit subsidy payments from PTC to PennDOT for the duration of the current public health and economic crisis?

That's a tough call...less money for PennDOT and the transit agencies...or less money for the PTC. I'm betting most local politicians want to keep that money flowing into the local roadways and local mass transit.
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Crown Victoria

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2414 on: April 18, 2020, 10:20:40 AM »

The PTC is reviewing its spending in light of current events:

https://www.post-gazette.com/news/transportation/2020/04/16/Pennsylvania-Turnpike-COVID-19-low-traffic-revenue-capital-transit-payments/stories/202004160144


PTC toll revenue for March 2020:

https://www.paturnpike.com/business/investors_fcr.aspx

Wonder if anyone in power in Pennsylvania will consider the suspension of transit subsidy payments from PTC to PennDOT for the duration of the current public health and economic crisis?

That's a tough call...less money for PennDOT and the transit agencies...or less money for the PTC. I'm betting most local politicians want to keep that money flowing into the local roadways and local mass transit.

The PTC secures all but $50 million of its $450 million Act 44 obligation through the bond markets, so as long as they can still borrow money at reasonable interest rates, that really shouldn't be an issue.  What would most likely happen, if they do need to delay the payments, would be an amendment to the agreement between the PTC and PennDOT similar to what happened with the truckers' lawsuit a couple years ago.

That being said, I would definitely expect any upcoming reconstruction projects to be delayed. Same goes with the start of Mon-Fayette Expressway work and upcoming interchange projects not related to cashless tolling.  Also, I would speculate that next year's toll increase may come earlier or be larger than expected...
« Last Edit: April 18, 2020, 10:23:15 AM by Crown Victoria »
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cpzilliacus

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2415 on: April 19, 2020, 12:52:04 AM »

That's a tough call...less money for PennDOT and the transit agencies...or less money for the PTC. I'm betting most local politicians want to keep that money flowing into the local roadways and local mass transit.

I do not thing that any of the Act 44/Act 89 money that PTC gives to PennDOT can be spent on local roads.  All of it is for transit.
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noelbotevera

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2416 on: April 19, 2020, 03:15:08 AM »

Not sure if this is the correct thread but it falls under the Turnpike system, though it could apply to the general PA thread.

I've always wondered why the PTC built the Greensburg Bypass (PA 66 between I-70/Turnpike and US 22). A brief history on the road doesn't say much, other than it being constructed from 1990-1993. I'm assuming prior to 1993 I-70 traffic wishing to travel to US 22 would use US 119.

Now here's the thing: there's not many people shunpiking via US 22. Long distance traffic is either on I-68 or I-80. US 22 shunpikers are likely regional, and I can't see many reasons why one would need to use this corridor. I could see why it might be expanded based on traffic; US 119 between US 30 and US 22 is a humble 2 lane road, currently carrying 4300 AADT. PA 66 between those two points carries 17-18K AADT, reaching as high as 37K shy of US 22 (source).

Furthering confounding me is that PennDOT did upgrade US 119 to 4 lanes between I-70 and US 30 meaning they anticipated decent amounts of traffic to Greensburg, but not north of Greensburg. Based on Google's aerial imagery, it wouldn't even be terribly difficult to extend US 30's bypass to also act as a bypass of US 119 (see here) though upgrading US 119 north of town would be harder.

Which raises the question: why couldn't PennDOT upgrade US 119 to freeway status and bypass Greensburg? Why did the PTC have to build PA 66 to act as the bypass?

Overall PA 66 seems like a waste of money ($282 million in 1993, according to PAHighways) and IMO could've been pocketed or used elsewhere (say the NE Extension, Turnpike upgrades, maybe even start the Mon-Fay).
« Last Edit: April 19, 2020, 03:24:35 AM by noelbotevera »
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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2417 on: April 19, 2020, 12:21:30 PM »

Anyone can chime in to correct the following (since I don’t want to take the time right now to source everything), but I believe all of the following is more or less correct.

First, the reason the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission is involved in any of these projects is largely political. From its inception up to the 1980s, the PTC was operated much like a utility—independently and without its funds being tampered with. Tolls remained relatively low—some of the lowest in the country, I believe, and improvements and expansions were correspondingly minimal, so the PTC remained solidly in the black.

In contrast, PennDOT was saddled with crippling debts and a deteriorating state highway system from decades of low gas taxes. So state legislators, not wanting to increase gas taxes as much as would be needed to adequately fund the Commonwealth’s transportation needs, decided they could alleviate some of the burden by transferring certain freeway projects over to the PTC, which would construct them as toll roads. This was codified in Act 61 of 1985: The Turnpike Organization, Extension and Toll Road Conversion Act.

The projects chosen (Beaver Valley, Mon-Fayette, Greensburg Bypass) weren’t alleviating traffic bottlenecks, per se; they were intended to improve mobility and thereby bolster the economies of of some of the counties ringing Pittsburgh. You have to have to bear in mind that, in the early to mid ’80s, many counties surrounding Allegheny had unemployment rates near or above 20%. Deindustrialization hit western PA incredibly hard, and much more so in the surrounding counties than in Pittsburgh itself where the economy was already more diversified.

So throughout for about 20 years from the ’70s through the ’90s, political leaders were scrambling to do anything they could to attract new industry and stop the hemorrhaging of jobs. Building new freeways was part of that effort.

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Bitmapped

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2418 on: April 19, 2020, 02:57:28 PM »

Not sure if this is the correct thread but it falls under the Turnpike system, though it could apply to the general PA thread.

I've always wondered why the PTC built the Greensburg Bypass (PA 66 between I-70/Turnpike and US 22). A brief history on the road doesn't say much, other than it being constructed from 1990-1993. I'm assuming prior to 1993 I-70 traffic wishing to travel to US 22 would use US 119.

Now here's the thing: there's not many people shunpiking via US 22. Long distance traffic is either on I-68 or I-80. US 22 shunpikers are likely regional, and I can't see many reasons why one would need to use this corridor. I could see why it might be expanded based on traffic; US 119 between US 30 and US 22 is a humble 2 lane road, currently carrying 4300 AADT. PA 66 between those two points carries 17-18K AADT, reaching as high as 37K shy of US 22 (source).

Furthering confounding me is that PennDOT did upgrade US 119 to 4 lanes between I-70 and US 30 meaning they anticipated decent amounts of traffic to Greensburg, but not north of Greensburg. Based on Google's aerial imagery, it wouldn't even be terribly difficult to extend US 30's bypass to also act as a bypass of US 119 (see here) though upgrading US 119 north of town would be harder.

Which raises the question: why couldn't PennDOT upgrade US 119 to freeway status and bypass Greensburg? Why did the PTC have to build PA 66 to act as the bypass?

Overall PA 66 seems like a waste of money ($282 million in 1993, according to PAHighways) and IMO could've been pocketed or used elsewhere (say the NE Extension, Turnpike upgrades, maybe even start the Mon-Fay).

If you think Turnpike 66 was a waste, let me introduce you to the Mon-Fayette Expressway which gets half the traffic.

Greensburg needed a bypass. The downtown is congested and following US 119 required turns that were difficult for trucks to navigate. While US 119 between New Stanton and Greensburg is 4 lanes, it runs through Youngwood with an extended 25mph stretch. North of Greensburg, US 119 is an un-upgraded 2-lane road. Even with the added distance, Turnpike 66 to US 22 is still several minutes faster than staying on US 119.

Turnpike 66 is a logical extension of the existing US 119 freeway corridor from south of New Stanton. It provides a connection to the Kiski Valley via PA 66 north of US 22 and does a reasonable job of diverting US 119 traffic from going through town. The existing US 30 Greensburg bypass is outdated and busy already, so dumping another 17,000 cars a day on it wouldn't have been a great strategy.
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SteveG1988

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2419 on: April 19, 2020, 05:21:12 PM »

It looks like a current style NJTP VMS is going up near the former toll plaza at the Delaware River Bridge going East. Saw the footings already in place, and the VMS laying in the former toll plaza convergance point.
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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2420 on: April 19, 2020, 06:59:01 PM »

It looks like a current style NJTP VMS is going up near the former toll plaza at the Delaware River Bridge going East. Saw the footings already in place, and the VMS laying in the former toll plaza convergance point.

There was a classic-style neon NJTP VMS still standing just after the toll plaza, at least when I was last there to check out the I-95 connection. I think it was the last neon NJTP VMS still standing, but it clearly hadn't been maintained in years, so I don't know when it was last used. It was removed sometime between October 2018 and September 2019. Apparently the NJTA still wants a VMS there.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2421 on: April 19, 2020, 11:38:37 PM »

If you think Turnpike 66 was a waste, let me introduce you to the Mon-Fayette Expressway which gets half the traffic.

Turnpike 43 had very low traffic volumes before the section to I-68 south of the Pennsylvania/West Virginia border was completed.  Have they gone up since that section opened?

Along the same theme, I think there were always plans for 43 to have a tie-in with I-376 at some point (there were plans at one time for it to have a wye with interchanges on both sides of the Squirrel Hill Tunnel, but now I think the only connection now will be east of the tunnel).

Do the projected traffic volumes on 43 south of PA-51 increase with a connection to I-376?
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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2422 on: April 20, 2020, 09:13:59 AM »

It looks like a current style NJTP VMS is going up near the former toll plaza at the Delaware River Bridge going East. Saw the footings already in place, and the VMS laying in the former toll plaza convergance point.

It will match nicely with the PTC VMS on the PHMTE westbound that's well over a mile before the bridge. Plus, there are various PTC signs for Exit 42 complete with incorrect clearview exit number and PennDOT standard Old Exit square, and PTC signs for the cashless bridge toll. The interesting thing about those two is that they're clearly PTC signage that it looks like the NJTA mounted on NJTA spec signposts.
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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2423 on: April 20, 2020, 11:10:24 AM »

If you think Turnpike 66 was a waste, let me introduce you to the Mon-Fayette Expressway which gets half the traffic.

Turnpike 43 had very low traffic volumes before the section to I-68 south of the Pennsylvania/West Virginia border was completed.  Have they gone up since that section opened?

Somewhat, but it's still lowly traveled on the toll section (about 7500 ADT). You can see on the traffic counts there are several thousand cars a day bypassing the toll part and then getting back on.

Do the projected traffic volumes on 43 south of PA-51 increase with a connection to I-376?

Probably not much until you get a tie-in with the Southern Beltway. For traffic coming from Morgantown/Uniontown, it's still better to take US 119 to the Turnpike to I-376 if you're going to Monroeville. If you're heading towards downtown, I think PA 51 would still be better since you'd avoid Squirrel Hill Tunnel and going out of the way. Once the Southern Beltway is built, this would be useful as a bypass of downtown for people coming from the Washington County area.
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Hwy 61 Revisited

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2424 on: April 20, 2020, 10:02:40 PM »

If you think Turnpike 66 was a waste, let me introduce you to the Mon-Fayette Expressway which gets half the traffic.

Turnpike 43 had very low traffic volumes before the section to I-68 south of the Pennsylvania/West Virginia border was completed.  Have they gone up since that section opened?

Somewhat, but it's still lowly traveled on the toll section (about 7500 ADT). You can see on the traffic counts there are several thousand cars a day bypassing the toll part and then getting back on.

Do the projected traffic volumes on 43 south of PA-51 increase with a connection to I-376?

Probably not much until you get a tie-in with the Southern Beltway. For traffic coming from Morgantown/Uniontown, it's still better to take US 119 to the Turnpike to I-376 if you're going to Monroeville. If you're heading towards downtown, I think PA 51 would still be better since you'd avoid Squirrel Hill Tunnel and going out of the way. Once the Southern Beltway is built, this would be useful as a bypass of downtown for people coming from the Washington County area.

If Turnpike 43 gets an Interstate designation (which it very well may), what would it be? X68? X70? X76? X79?
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