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Author Topic: PA Turnpike News  (Read 623550 times)

Rothman

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2525 on: July 25, 2020, 07:48:08 PM »

Yeah, a public library board is a far cry from public authorities in NY which have a history of questionable oversight and an unwritten focus on bilking the public (e.g., Robert Moses).
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SignBridge

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2526 on: July 25, 2020, 09:06:42 PM »

And again I say LOL, it was so much simpler when we just paid cash, before any electronic toll systems. There was none of this b/s with erroneous toll charges.

But I confess to only occasionally having been caught up in a horrendous traffic jam before a toll as previously described by several on this board. I was lucky enough to do most of my traveling mid-day/mid-week and not on holiday weekends.

I'm sure if I had experienced those horrendous back-ups I would have more appreciation of electronic tolling.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2020, 10:38:30 PM by SignBridge »
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jeffandnicole

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2527 on: July 25, 2020, 10:32:28 PM »

...and there are TV cameras and newspaper reporters present, you'd better believe we sit up and pay attention.

This may be the result of small town America. I would be hard-pressed to think of any library that had cameras and news reporters present at a meeting in a very long time in the general NJ/NY area.

At the much more large-scale meetings in this area, there may be reporters and cameras present, but I can tell you that there ain't going to be any difference in how the board reacts. The public speaker will state their comments, the board may or may not say anything, and that's generally about it. They're not going to be here to impress media folks.

If you look up the New Jersey Turnpike Authority meeting minutes, you will find there is more often than not people that publicly comment. Past few months have people commenting heavily against a proposed toll increase of which there concerns we're not heeded and the toll increase passed. There's also one guy I pointed out on occasion who tends to bring really odd things up. Not only is he ignored by the board, is ignored by any media people there as well.
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tylert120

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2528 on: July 26, 2020, 12:27:30 PM »

The turnpike bridge replacement over PA 380 Saltsburg road in Plum borough is in the final phase. PA 380 is closed for the next 30 days or so while final work wraps up.
  Was it built to carry 6 lanes?

Yes. They are also replacing the bridges at Center Rd in Monroeville and Unity Trestle Rd in Plum. All three can fit 6 lanes of traffic on the turnpike. This area between Allegheny Valley and Monroeville is targeted for widening after all the bridge projects are completed.
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tylert120

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2529 on: August 02, 2020, 08:56:44 AM »

Someone in a local FB group shared images of two beams being placed last night for the new turnpike bridge carrying Unity Trestle  Road over the mainline in Plum Borough, Allegheny County.

https://imgur.com/Dgd7Ra3
https://imgur.com/qffCSuj
https://imgur.com/7flGDiv
https://imgur.com/bRAJEye
https://imgur.com/PAR71hU
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briantroutman

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2530 on: August 04, 2020, 03:52:11 PM »

Also, I noticed the PTC is installing a new system for two-way operations at the Tuscarora Tunnel.  Starting about a mile before the tunnel, they have installed concrete barrier on the left side with automated swinging barriers.  They are orange semi-circle barriers with black-on-orange chevron symbols.  I'm guessing the purpose is to keep traffic from being in the lane that will handle oncoming traffic inside the tunnel.

Just noticed this in action on one of the webcams.  Kind of neat they can automatically close a lane.


upload

I’ve been making weekly trips to Pittsburgh recently (and will continue to do so for some time to come), and I noticed a few new additions to the temporary traffic control setup at Tuscarora Tunnel—related to the rehabilitation project.

The first thing that caught my attention was that a pair of fairly standard three-ball R-Y-G traffic signals had been installed on a mast arm just ahead of the eastern portal of the westbound tube—roughly at the gore point of the WB to EB crossover. This new signal is visible on via the MP 187.4 WB Tuscarora camera on the PTC’s Traffic Cameras page. Both lights were green at the time, and both tubes were in normal operation.

But what gave me a brief start was a new setup of directional LEDs embedded in the pavement. At first, I thought my headlights were reflecting off of some broken glass or metallic debris and I bolted to attention. As I got closer, I realized that I was seeing white LEDs forming a large forward-pointing arrow in the direction of travel—two white arrows side-by-side since both lanes were open to westbound traffic. On a subsequent eastbound trip (when both directions of traffic shared the WB tube), I discovered that each LED “button” actually consists of two LED arrays, with red lights pointing in one direction and white pointing the other—much like the double-sided reflectors on many freeways.

Additionally, standard green arrow/red x lane control lights have been installed in the tunnel ceiling every 500-1000 ft. or so.

On one return (eastbound) trip a week ago, the EB tube was open, and I noticed that its left-side tunnel lighting had all been removed. The EB tunnel has not yet had embedded LEDs or lane control lights installed. And as of yesterday, the EB tube’s ventilation exhaust grilles had been boarded up (also visible on the traffic cameras.


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cpzilliacus

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2531 on: August 05, 2020, 04:58:58 PM »

But what gave me a brief start was a new setup of directional LEDs embedded in the pavement. At first, I thought my headlights were reflecting off of some broken glass or metallic debris and I bolted to attention. As I got closer, I realized that I was seeing white LEDs forming a large forward-pointing arrow in the direction of travel—two white arrows side-by-side since both lanes were open to westbound traffic. On a subsequent eastbound trip (when both directions of traffic shared the WB tube), I discovered that each LED “button” actually consists of two LED arrays, with red lights pointing in one direction and white pointing the other—much like the double-sided reflectors on many freeways.

I have seen a similar setup in use on I-895 through the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel when one tube has been running in two-way operation  (MDTA's contractor is replacing the bridge over the railroad yard north of the north portal as well as some pretty significant work in the tubes, including a partial tunnel deck replacement, removal and replacement of many of the tiles in both tubes, repairs to the firefighting water supply system and rehabilitation of the stonework along the retaining walls at both portals).  More on the project in the I-895 thread here.
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briantroutman

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2532 on: August 11, 2020, 02:04:50 PM »

I’m still driving between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh weekly, and on my most recent eastbound trip, I noticed that the Turnpike’s two Steak n Shake locations at service plazas (South Midway, Highspire) have been replaced with Roy Rogers. The PTC’s website has not yet been updated to reflect the change, although the ground signage has.

If I’m not mistaken, now every Pennsylvania Turnpike service plaza has either a Roy Rogers or a Burger King as the burger-and-fries anchor of its foodservice operation—except North Midway, which for whatever reason has only a Subway.
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PHLBOS

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2533 on: August 11, 2020, 05:29:59 PM »

I’m still driving between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh weekly, and on my most recent eastbound trip, I noticed that the Turnpike’s two Steak n Shake locations at service plazas (South Midway, Highspire) have been replaced with Roy Rogers. The PTC’s website has not yet been updated to reflect the change, although the ground signage has.

If I’m not mistaken, now every Pennsylvania Turnpike service plaza has either a Roy Rogers or a Burger King as the burger-and-fries anchor of its foodservice operation—except North Midway, which for whatever reason has only a Subway.
When were you last on the Turnpike? 

I've stopped at the Highspire plaza last month while coming back from a Harrisburg trip and noticed that the Steak n Shake was still there & open.  Such must've been a very recent change.
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briantroutman

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2534 on: August 11, 2020, 05:59:12 PM »

When were you last on the Turnpike? 

I've stopped at the Highspire plaza last month while coming back from a Harrisburg trip and noticed that the Steak n Shake was still there & open.  Such must've been a very recent change.

Literally, yesterday.
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rickmastfan67

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2535 on: August 11, 2020, 07:34:25 PM »

This was news to me that there was even Steak n Shake's on the Turnpike to begin with.

Sadly, all the locations here in Pgh are 'Temporarily Closed', but have been in that state for awhile (before C19).

briantroutman

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2536 on: August 11, 2020, 08:49:54 PM »

^ Don’t worry: You weren’t missing anything, in my opinion.

Actually, I remember reading some comments about the supposed “decline of Steak ’n Shake” on one of the threads on AARoads (perhaps it was “Roadside chains with at least one foot in the grave”), and I debated seeking out that thread and posting the closure news there.

I’ve never had much of a relationship with Steak ’n Shake outside of some generally positive memories of a few visits during trips through in the Midwest in the early 2000s. During the year I lived in Tampa, I had a few S’nS locations nearby and stopped in from time to time. At best, the visits to those Tampa locations were “just OK”, and more often than not, the orders took forever to be filled, the fries were cold and stale, I was charged incorrectly, or there was some other problem. The rather megalomaniacal “by Biglari” signature on the Florida Steak ’n Shake signs wasn’t lost on me, and when I did searches online for “steak ’n shake sucks now”, I found post after post (especially from old-time Midwesterners) claiming that Sardar Biglari, who bought the chain in 2008, was running the venerable brand into the ground—Eddie Lampert style—through “value extraction”: cost cutting, loose franchising, and other operational changes.

Along those lines, the PA Turnpike Steak ’n Shakes were no more than a pale imitation of the authentic, original restaurants, with a stripped down menu (none of the diner-like fare—and obviously not served on china), indifferent employees, and lax standards. Lots of “we’re out of that”.
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Crown Victoria

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2537 on: August 11, 2020, 09:02:17 PM »

Looks like our tradition of getting shakes from the Steak n Shake at South Midway on the way home from western PA is over...but then again, it's not surprising to see it go. We got food from another location once, and that was enough.

If I’m not mistaken, now every Pennsylvania Turnpike service plaza has either a Roy Rogers or a Burger King as the burger-and-fries anchor of its foodservice operation—except North Midway, which for whatever reason has only a Subway.

Easy fix for that: Re-open the tunnel between North and South Midway.  :-D
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MASTERNC

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2538 on: August 12, 2020, 11:19:35 AM »

Looks like our tradition of getting shakes from the Steak n Shake at South Midway on the way home from western PA is over...but then again, it's not surprising to see it go. We got food from another location once, and that was enough.

If I’m not mistaken, now every Pennsylvania Turnpike service plaza has either a Roy Rogers or a Burger King as the burger-and-fries anchor of its foodservice operation—except North Midway, which for whatever reason has only a Subway.

Easy fix for that: Re-open the tunnel between North and South Midway.  :-D

Same here.  Will definitely miss that operation.  It was always busy when I stopped.  Roy Rogers is blah in comparison IMO.  It's a shame HMS Host doesn't have some more variety like they do in Ohio.  For some reason, PA/NJ are the same operations across their service plazas.
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qguy

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2539 on: August 12, 2020, 02:08:52 PM »

If I’m not mistaken, now every Pennsylvania Turnpike service plaza has either a Roy Rogers or a Burger King as the burger-and-fries anchor of its foodservice operation—except North Midway, which for whatever reason has only a Subway.
Easy fix for that: Re-open the tunnel between North and South Midway.  :-D

You're going to make me dig out my pics of the tunnel, aren't you! OK, twist my arm…

In 2009, when I was working for PennDOT District 6, my son (Roadsguy) and I took a road trip around Pennsylvania. I arranged to have someone show it to us.


The tunnel beneath the Turnpike mainline, looking toward Midway South. I included this pic for scale. Roadsguy was 11 years old at this time. (Today he's taller than me.) He was a roadgeek pretty much out of the womb. As you can see from the look on his face, on this day he was in heaven!



Just the tunnel. You can see what its condition was in 2009. Not terrible, but it's very narrow. Judging from my height (5'9") in the previous pic, the tunnel looks like it's six feet wide and eight feet high. Utility conduits have been strung along the ceiling. The light fixtures are original.



The southern end of the tunnel, under Midway South (the eastbound side). Definitely not handicapped-accessible. (Looks like UPS delivers in the tunnel. Who knew?  :-D)



This is the original stairway at the southern end, providing access up to the Midway South building. It was still in use by Turnpike and concession employees in 2009. I don't know if it was torn out during the recent renovation.



The northern end of the tunnel, under Midway North (the westbound side). As you can see, the orginal stairway was removed and replaced by modified access in a different configuration. One can see the wall scar of the original stairway.



A diffent view of the southern end. Behind the door is the bottom of a newer stairway which provides access to the tunnel from the Midway North building.



A closer look at the modification. The white PCV pipes look like sewer connections. I don't know about the others.



For comparison, here's Roadsguy with me two years ago at the PA Turnpike/I-95 road meet.
« Last Edit: August 12, 2020, 05:44:00 PM by qguy »
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Crown Victoria

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2540 on: August 12, 2020, 08:53:16 PM »

If I’m not mistaken, now every Pennsylvania Turnpike service plaza has either a Roy Rogers or a Burger King as the burger-and-fries anchor of its foodservice operation—except North Midway, which for whatever reason has only a Subway.
Easy fix for that: Re-open the tunnel between North and South Midway.  :-D

You're going to make me dig out my pics of the tunnel, aren't you! OK, twist my arm…

In 2009, when I was working for PennDOT District 6, my son (Roadsguy) and I took a road trip around Pennsylvania. I arranged to have someone show it to us.


The tunnel beneath the Turnpike mainline, looking toward Midway South. I included this pic for scale. Roadsguy was 11 years old at this time. (Today he's taller than me.) He was a roadgeek pretty much out of the womb. As you can see from the look on his face, on this day he was in heaven!



Just the tunnel. You can see what its condition was in 2009. Not terrible, but it's very narrow. Judging from my height (5'9") in the previous pic, the tunnel looks like it's six feet wide and eight feet high. Utility conduits have been strung along the ceiling. The light fixtures are original.



The southern end of the tunnel, under Midway South (the eastbound side). Definitely not handicapped-accessible. (Looks like UPS delivers in the tunnel. Who knew?  :-D)



This is the original stairway at the southern end, providing access up to the Midway South building. It was still in use by Turnpike and concession employees in 2009. I don't know if it was torn out during the recent renovation.



The northern end of the tunnel, under Midway North (the westbound side). As you can see, the orginal stairway was removed and replaced by modified access in a different configuration. One can see the wall scar of the original stairway.



A diffent view of the southern end. Behind the door is the bottom of a newer stairway which provides access to the tunnel from the Midway North building.



A closer look at the modification. The white PCV pipes look like sewer connections. I don't know about the others.



For comparison, here's Roadsguy with me two years ago at the PA Turnpike/I-95 road meet.

Looks like a great father-son road trip! Nice to see the tunnel still serves a purpose, even if not for the general public. Wonder what will happen to it once this part of the Turnpike is reconstructed...
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briantroutman

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2541 on: August 12, 2020, 11:10:47 PM »

Wonder what will happen to it once this part of the Turnpike is reconstructed...

That comment got me wondering: Do we know for certain that the Turnpike through Midway was not reconstructed already? I recall that some 1940-vintage segments were completely reconstructed beginning in the late ‘90s, and though the early projects were full-depth reconstructions, the resulting road was still four lanes—albeit with a more robust base, better drainage, and other structural improvements. I assume that it was some point later that the PTC decided to include a six-lane widening in its reconstruction projects. The underpass at the Bedford Interchange is clearly original 1940 equipment, as is this one east of Midway over Sunny Side Road, so I assume the 2.5 miles in between was not reconstructed.

Regardless—considering the six lane widenings that have been taking place virtually systemwide, I was a little surprised when North Midway was demolished and rebuilt a few years ago that its site wasn’t refigured somewhat to allow more room for an eventual widening of the Turnpike between the two plaza buildings. By a quick measurement estimation on Google Earth, the two plazas’ parking areas are separated by just 125 feet, curb-to-curb. That’s just enough room for the six-lane Turnpike’s 120-foot cross section, assuming that a retaining wall replaces the grass embankment in front of South Midway and the plazas’ ramps are reconfigured to accommodate the increased width.
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Gnutella

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2542 on: August 12, 2020, 11:59:30 PM »

^ Don’t worry: You weren’t missing anything, in my opinion.

Actually, I remember reading some comments about the supposed “decline of Steak ’n Shake” on one of the threads on AARoads (perhaps it was “Roadside chains with at least one foot in the grave”), and I debated seeking out that thread and posting the closure news there.

I’ve never had much of a relationship with Steak ’n Shake outside of some generally positive memories of a few visits during trips through in the Midwest in the early 2000s. During the year I lived in Tampa, I had a few S’nS locations nearby and stopped in from time to time. At best, the visits to those Tampa locations were “just OK”, and more often than not, the orders took forever to be filled, the fries were cold and stale, I was charged incorrectly, or there was some other problem. The rather megalomaniacal “by Biglari” signature on the Florida Steak ’n Shake signs wasn’t lost on me, and when I did searches online for “steak ’n shake sucks now”, I found post after post (especially from old-time Midwesterners) claiming that Sardar Biglari, who bought the chain in 2008, was running the venerable brand into the ground—Eddie Lampert style—through “value extraction”: cost cutting, loose franchising, and other operational changes.

Along those lines, the PA Turnpike Steak ’n Shakes were no more than a pale imitation of the authentic, original restaurants, with a stripped down menu (none of the diner-like fare—and obviously not served on china), indifferent employees, and lax standards. Lots of “we’re out of that”.

The decline of Steak 'N' Shake is not just a Turnpike/Pennsylvania thing. The first sign that they were declining was about 10 years ago, when they reduced their soup options to just vegetable. They used to have some great chicken gumbo, so I was annoyed when they got rid of it.

A few years later, getting seated in less than 10 minutes was a tall order, as was getting my food less than 10 minutes after the cooks placed it in the window for the waiters.

Then the quality of the shakes declined. Poorly-mixed shakes became more common, and so did chunks of ice in the shakes.

Many of the restaurants themselves became dirtier. One location near where my parents live seems to have a perpetual layer of residue on the floor and the bar, and the tables aren't cleaned well. Look up that specific location on Yelp, and you'll see a bunch of one-star reviews.

If I had to make a guess, I'd guess that Steak 'N' Shake was purchased about 10 years ago by a private equity firm or some other company that owns a bunch of different restaurants.
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briantroutman

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2543 on: August 13, 2020, 12:13:23 AM »

The decline of Steak 'N' Shake is not just a Turnpike/Pennsylvania thing....
If I had to make a guess, I'd guess that Steak 'N' Shake was purchased about 10 years ago by a private equity firm or some other company that owns a bunch of different restaurants.

Yes:

...when I did searches online for “steak ’n shake sucks now”, I found post after post (especially from old-time Midwesterners) claiming that Sardar Biglari, who bought the chain in 2008, was running the venerable brand into the ground—Eddie Lampert style—through “value extraction”: cost cutting, loose franchising, and other operational changes.
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Mr_Northside

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2544 on: August 13, 2020, 03:05:15 PM »

Wonder what will happen to it once this part of the Turnpike is reconstructed...

That comment got me wondering: Do we know for certain that the Turnpike through Midway was not reconstructed already? I recall that some 1940-vintage segments were completely reconstructed beginning in the late ‘90s, and though the early projects were full-depth reconstructions, the resulting road was still four lanes—albeit with a more robust base, better drainage, and other structural improvements. I assume that it was some point later that the PTC decided to include a six-lane widening in its reconstruction projects. The underpass at the Bedford Interchange is clearly original 1940 equipment, as is this one east of Midway over Sunny Side Road, so I assume the 2.5 miles in between was not reconstructed.

Regardless—considering the six lane widenings that have been taking place virtually systemwide, I was a little surprised when North Midway was demolished and rebuilt a few years ago that its site wasn’t refigured somewhat to allow more room for an eventual widening of the Turnpike between the two plaza buildings. By a quick measurement estimation on Google Earth, the two plazas’ parking areas are separated by just 125 feet, curb-to-curb. That’s just enough room for the six-lane Turnpike’s 120-foot cross section, assuming that a retaining wall replaces the grass embankment in front of South Midway and the plazas’ ramps are reconfigured to accommodate the increased width.

I'm almost totally positive that this stretch hasn't had a full-on reconstruction yet.  They did stretches in Westmoreland County & Somerset County in the late 90's or so that are just 4 lanes - before they decided it was worth it to just 6-lane what they reconstruct going forward.  I don't know that they've done any full-reconstruction in Bedford County yet. 

Also in this general area, another pinch point is a fairly new (at least it still seems fairly new) 4-lane overpass over US-30 - where they dualized US-30 between Bedford and Everett ( https://goo.gl/maps/tk19ddK8k6LnoQAX6 ) - Not being an engineer, I don't know if that structure can be modified for a 6 lane Turnpike - if it can't, I don't see it getting replaced with an even newer structure for many years.  (Also, if you look at the PTC websites future projects, the one around Everett stops just east of here, shortly after the Turnpike crosses the Juniata).
« Last Edit: August 13, 2020, 03:08:00 PM by Mr_Northside »
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Crown Victoria

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2545 on: August 13, 2020, 03:54:28 PM »

Wonder what will happen to it once this part of the Turnpike is reconstructed...

That comment got me wondering: Do we know for certain that the Turnpike through Midway was not reconstructed already? I recall that some 1940-vintage segments were completely reconstructed beginning in the late ‘90s, and though the early projects were full-depth reconstructions, the resulting road was still four lanes—albeit with a more robust base, better drainage, and other structural improvements. I assume that it was some point later that the PTC decided to include a six-lane widening in its reconstruction projects. The underpass at the Bedford Interchange is clearly original 1940 equipment, as is this one east of Midway over Sunny Side Road, so I assume the 2.5 miles in between was not reconstructed.

Regardless—considering the six lane widenings that have been taking place virtually systemwide, I was a little surprised when North Midway was demolished and rebuilt a few years ago that its site wasn’t refigured somewhat to allow more room for an eventual widening of the Turnpike between the two plaza buildings. By a quick measurement estimation on Google Earth, the two plazas’ parking areas are separated by just 125 feet, curb-to-curb. That’s just enough room for the six-lane Turnpike’s 120-foot cross section, assuming that a retaining wall replaces the grass embankment in front of South Midway and the plazas’ ramps are reconfigured to accommodate the increased width.

I'm almost totally positive that this stretch hasn't had a full-on reconstruction yet.  They did stretches in Westmoreland County & Somerset County in the late 90's or so that are just 4 lanes - before they decided it was worth it to just 6-lane what they reconstruct going forward.  I don't know that they've done any full-reconstruction in Bedford County yet. 

Also in this general area, another pinch point is a fairly new (at least it still seems fairly new) 4-lane overpass over US-30 - where they dualized US-30 between Bedford and Everett ( https://goo.gl/maps/tk19ddK8k6LnoQAX6 ) - Not being an engineer, I don't know if that structure can be modified for a 6 lane Turnpike - if it can't, I don't see it getting replaced with an even newer structure for many years.  (Also, if you look at the PTC websites future projects, the one around Everett stops just east of here, shortly after the Turnpike crosses the Juniata).

Here's a map of the PA Turnpike's reconstruction projects, current as of January 2020. The section at the Midway plazas has yet to be reconstructed, nor is anything planned until just east of there, as mentioned.

https://www.paturnpike.com/pdfs/travel/Total_Recon_2019.pdf
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briantroutman

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2546 on: August 17, 2020, 03:05:25 PM »

Another week; another Philadelphia to Pittsburgh round trip; another Turnpike update:

The Tuscarora Mountain Tunnel’s eastbound tube, which had been closed as of August 10th, was reopened when I drove through last night. The tunnel's concrete ceiling (separating the upper exhaust duct from the travel lanes below) has been removed, leaving an open arched cross section, much like the revamped tunnels in Pittsburgh.

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Crown Victoria

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2547 on: August 17, 2020, 07:34:26 PM »

Another week; another Philadelphia to Pittsburgh round trip; another Turnpike update:

The Tuscarora Mountain Tunnel’s eastbound tube, which had been closed as of August 10th, was reopened when I drove through last night. The tunnel's concrete ceiling (separating the upper exhaust duct from the travel lanes below) has been removed, leaving an open arched cross section, much like the revamped tunnels in Pittsburgh.



Definitely makes passing through the tunnel feel just a little less claustrophobic...


The PTC has posted its FY 2021 Capital Plan. Spending is cut back for the next couple years due to effects from the pandemic. Looks like the next reconstruction is MP 102-109, due to begin late this year or early next year.
https://www.paturnpike.com/pdfs/business/FY2021_Capital_Plan.pdf
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qguy

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2548 on: August 17, 2020, 09:48:03 PM »

Another week; another Philadelphia to Pittsburgh round trip; another Turnpike update:

The Tuscarora Mountain Tunnel’s eastbound tube, which had been closed as of August 10th, was reopened when I drove through last night. The tunnel's concrete ceiling (separating the upper exhaust duct from the travel lanes below) has been removed, leaving an open arched cross section, much like the revamped tunnels in Pittsburgh.



That longitudinal space above the ceiling (in tunnels that have one) is called a ventilation plenum.

Two questions:

1. Are there fans to replace the plenum's ventilation function (as in the southbound Lehigh Tunnel)?

2. In the I-279 tunnel in Pittsburgh, there are radio repeater antenna wires strung along the plenum. (When I worked for PennDOT I once stood in the plenum there and saw them up close.) Could you tell if the overhead wires visible in your photograph are similar radio repeaters or did they just look like utility wires?
« Last Edit: August 17, 2020, 09:59:30 PM by qguy »
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Gnutella

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2549 on: August 17, 2020, 10:46:53 PM »

Wonder what will happen to it once this part of the Turnpike is reconstructed...

That comment got me wondering: Do we know for certain that the Turnpike through Midway was not reconstructed already? I recall that some 1940-vintage segments were completely reconstructed beginning in the late ‘90s, and though the early projects were full-depth reconstructions, the resulting road was still four lanes—albeit with a more robust base, better drainage, and other structural improvements. I assume that it was some point later that the PTC decided to include a six-lane widening in its reconstruction projects. The underpass at the Bedford Interchange is clearly original 1940 equipment, as is this one east of Midway over Sunny Side Road, so I assume the 2.5 miles in between was not reconstructed.

Regardless—considering the six lane widenings that have been taking place virtually systemwide, I was a little surprised when North Midway was demolished and rebuilt a few years ago that its site wasn’t refigured somewhat to allow more room for an eventual widening of the Turnpike between the two plaza buildings. By a quick measurement estimation on Google Earth, the two plazas’ parking areas are separated by just 125 feet, curb-to-curb. That’s just enough room for the six-lane Turnpike’s 120-foot cross section, assuming that a retaining wall replaces the grass embankment in front of South Midway and the plazas’ ramps are reconfigured to accommodate the increased width.

I'm almost totally positive that this stretch hasn't had a full-on reconstruction yet.  They did stretches in Westmoreland County & Somerset County in the late 90's or so that are just 4 lanes - before they decided it was worth it to just 6-lane what they reconstruct going forward.  I don't know that they've done any full-reconstruction in Bedford County yet. 

Also in this general area, another pinch point is a fairly new (at least it still seems fairly new) 4-lane overpass over US-30 - where they dualized US-30 between Bedford and Everett ( https://goo.gl/maps/tk19ddK8k6LnoQAX6 ) - Not being an engineer, I don't know if that structure can be modified for a 6 lane Turnpike - if it can't, I don't see it getting replaced with an even newer structure for many years.  (Also, if you look at the PTC websites future projects, the one around Everett stops just east of here, shortly after the Turnpike crosses the Juniata).

Here's a map of the PA Turnpike's reconstruction projects, current as of January 2020. The section at the Midway plazas has yet to be reconstructed, nor is anything planned until just east of there, as mentioned.

https://www.paturnpike.com/pdfs/travel/Total_Recon_2019.pdf

Apparently, that short four-lane segment near MM 39 was reconstructed in the early 2000s, before the Turnpike Commission decided to six-lane everything. That explains the gap. I hope they get around to correcting that soon, because everything north of Pittsburgh except for two miles is six lanes now.
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