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Author Topic: PA Turnpike News  (Read 551031 times)

PAHighways

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #250 on: January 08, 2012, 11:25:35 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.

It was back in 2003 and 2004.
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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #251 on: January 09, 2012, 10:25:17 AM »


Might be something worthy of a meet sometime.

It was back in 2003 and 2004.

Darn, hate I missed those.

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

The Thousand Islands Bridge begs to differ...

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #252 on: January 09, 2012, 11:58:10 AM »

hb,

Pahighways has great pictures on that site from that meet.  I highly recommend checking them out.
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Beltway

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #253 on: January 09, 2012, 12:38:53 PM »

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

The Thousand Islands Bridge begs to differ...

It's not built to Interstate standards.

Given that the bridges and approaches include 2-lane segments in Canada, it could be argued that the U.S. segment is not really part of the U.S. Interstate system.

In any event, posting an Interstate shield on it does not mean that it's built to Interstate standards.  Using it as an example here is using the "argument by exception" logical fallacy.

« Last Edit: January 09, 2012, 12:41:29 PM by Beltway »
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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #254 on: January 09, 2012, 03:20:24 PM »

Are tunnels banned from having medians in them?  I see no reason why the center tube couldn't have a jersey barrier in the center.
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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #255 on: January 09, 2012, 04:51:50 PM »

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #256 on: January 09, 2012, 05:37:49 PM »

Are tunnels banned from having medians in them?  I see no reason why the center tube couldn't have a jersey barrier in the center.

I doubt there is room in the tubes for wide enough lanes AND a median.
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Beltway

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #257 on: January 09, 2012, 05:46:45 PM »

Are tunnels banned from having medians in them?  I see no reason why the center tube couldn't have a jersey barrier in the center.

I doubt there is room in the tubes for wide enough lanes AND a median.

The concrete median barrier is 24 inches wide at the base.  A Lincoln Tunnel tube could ill afford to lose 2 feet of roadway.  The barrier would also prevent traffic from moving around a blocked lane.
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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #258 on: January 09, 2012, 08:07:01 PM »

Are tunnels banned from having medians in them?  I see no reason why the center tube couldn't have a jersey barrier in the center.
You'd want to make sure to have what one might call "passing roadway width" on either side of the median barrier. Based on NYSDOT standards that would be about 21' or 22' - you can get it down to 19' if you ban trucks, but then you have trouble if one of the other tubes gets shut down. Not that it's a dealbreaker, but it makes it a lot costlier to construct, and might even be more than two smaller tubes. Quick math:
2 x 2-lane tunnels vs. 1 x 2-lane with median
Roadway box 24 x 16 vs. roadway box 45 x 16
Radii to box corners are roughly 14.4 vs. 27.6
Allow some tunnel wall thickness (say 2.5') to bring it up to R=17' vs. R=30'
Therefore bored areas would be 289 x 2 vs. 900...

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #259 on: January 10, 2012, 08:46:57 AM »

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.

The plan by Pennsylvania's politicians to toll I-80 was never going to meet with federal government approval (and it was properly rejected, first by the Bush (43) Administration, then by the Obama Administration) given the wording of the federal statute that establishes the authority to toll existing "free" Interstates. 

Some (including, in particular, the unions that represent at least some urban transit workers in Pennsylvania) thought that the Obama Administration would approve tolling I-80 even though it had been rejected by the previous administration.  They were wrong.

The toll revenues have to stay in the corridor where they were collected and benefit the users of the highway being tolled - and clearly that was not what Act 44 envisioned - as best as I could tell, Act 44 envisioned I-80 as a cash cow, with most of the revenues diverted to transit subsidies and highway projects having little or nothing to do with I-80.

What nobody in in power Pennsylvania seems to understand is this - tolling I-80 and keeping the toll revenues to maintain, repair (and even upgrade!) I-80 would free up at least some PennDOT dollars which could be spent elsewhere.  Maybe not as much as the endless flow of cash that Act 44 assumed, but it would save PennDOT some dollars.

And from a crassly political perspective, tolling I-80 makes plenty of sense, because so little of Pennsylvania's population lives near I-80.  In that way, it's much like I-95 in North and South Carolina. 

Quote
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.

Agreed.

I have driven on I-80 in Pennsylvania maybe once or twice - in my life.  I drive parts of the Pennsylvania Turnpike system more frequently.  <smile>

However, I agree with you that the current situation in Pennsylvania is profoundly unfair to patrons of the existing Turnpike.
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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #260 on: January 10, 2012, 12:14:24 PM »

^^^
I wonder why that situation has been allowed to continue.  As in earlier rants on the tolling debate, the political power in the state rests where most of the people are.   That is in the Philly and Pittsburgh metropolitan areas.  And, to a lesser degree (ABE, WB/Scranton, Harrisburg, Reading, Lancaster, Erie, etc.)

So, in theory, there is enough voter influence to do what the voters want especially compared to the sparse northern PA population.

My guess is that the Turnpike generates too much money to de-toll it.  So, I think that was part of the 80 tolling legislation, flawed though it was.

IMO, what should be done is that ALL interstates and other freeway grade highways in the state should be tolled and tolled at the same per mile rate.  Plus, tolls on any given segment could only be used on that segment.

Of course, at the present time, any tolling of a "free" highway in PA or pretty much anywhere is a dead issue unless new legislation is passed on the Federal level as IIRC, the pilot legislation slots are now filled.
__________________________________________________________________

On a different vein, the tolled turnpike vs "free" I-80 may not be fair.  But, there aren't many jobs in the I-80 corridor either.  Or, for that matter, in the rural areas along the turnpike between Philly, Harrisburg and Pittsburgh.  Which is not "fair" either.

But, hey, life isn't fair!  And, no amount of legislation can fix more that a fraction of that.
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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #261 on: January 10, 2012, 05:49:33 PM »

Let us not forget that I-80 through Pennsylvania has the highest amount of truck traffic on any of the Interstates in PA.  Many private truck operators will drive around the turnpike since I-80 is free.  At most interchanges they would have to retool the ramps for toll booths and also staff toll collectors as well.  Start up cost would be tremendous and costly.  In the long run it would generate money for roads, which what they want, but at what cost.  I know when they changed PA 60 to I-376, the toll remained at Beaver Falls (Chippewa) to New Castle.  But in tolling I-80 there would be no major route that travels East to West that would be free.  Once they put the tolls on they are not going to take it off, and to me it seems once they get one interstate on there that that would grab the rest of the roads because people will drive around tolls.  Which there are major Routes to the South (I-68 and I-70) in Maryland and West Virgina and I-86 in Pennsylvania and New York.  To me this will take away from monies that the state will need, the traffic can and will go else where and with them people will travel around it.  I also remember they also wanted to introduce legislation to disband the Turnpike and have it absorbed into PennDOT, problem is with that is some of the Districts do not even have a part of the Turnpike in it.  They also where thinking of Privatizing the Turnpike, a lot of money up front but, that would only be a band-aid for the present and 10 years down the road there would they would need more.  Pennsylvania has a lot of bridges from the rivers, creeks, lakes, and streams that the road has to cross, unfortunately here we own a lot of the bridges, there are a few here and there that are owned by the county and even fewer at the municipal level. They are not cheap to fix and also maintain.  It is a quandry that many states are in because the cost of the economy has been horrible what is worse that many of the states rely on the gas tax, which because of the price of gas less people have money to go places.  I am not happy with the oil companies. 
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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #262 on: January 10, 2012, 07:55:25 PM »

At most interchanges they would have to retool the ramps for toll booths and also staff toll collectors as well.  Start up cost would be tremendous and costly.  In the long run it would generate money for roads, which what they want, but at what cost.

Didn't the I-80 tolling proposal involve only open-road tolling (ORT)?

…what is worse that many of the states rely on the gas tax, which because of the price of gas less people have money to go places.  I am not happy with the oil companies. 

Actually, the price per gallon of gasoline is lower today in terms of consumer purchasing power (IOW, as compared to pay scales) than it was in the 1950s.

Pennsylvania has a lot of bridges from the rivers, creeks, lakes, and streams that the road has to cross, unfortunately here we own a lot of the bridges, there are a few here and there that are owned by the county and even fewer at the municipal level. They are not cheap to fix and also maintain.

As a recent former PennDOT employee (District 6), I can vouch for that. If I recall correctly, PennDOT is responsible for more miles of local road than any other state DOT (as a percentage of total state road miles or whichever way one wishes to measure it). It's a crushing, both from a cost and a man-hours standpoint. I worked closely with the PennDOT maintenance units in each county. There isn't enough hours in the day to get everything done that they have responsibility for. I don't know how they accomplish as much as they do. (Contrary to the old days—and the old jokes—they actually work extremely hard.)
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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #263 on: January 10, 2012, 08:08:34 PM »

At most interchanges they would have to retool the ramps for toll booths and also staff toll collectors as well.  Start up cost would be tremendous and costly.  In the long run it would generate money for roads, which what they want, but at what cost.

Didn't the I-80 tolling proposal involve only open-road tolling (ORT)?

It would have been ORT (10 E-ZPass gantries at 30 mile intervals).

There were maps and an illustration on the PTC's page about tolling 80 before it was deleted.
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hbelkins

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #264 on: January 10, 2012, 09:29:18 PM »

Let us not forget that I-80 through Pennsylvania has the highest amount of truck traffic on any of the Interstates in PA.  Many private truck operators will drive around the turnpike since I-80 is free.

Given the cost of fuel and time, is it really possible that any money could be saved by driving that far north out of the way to use I-80 for any destination that would be served by I-76?
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Beltway

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #265 on: January 10, 2012, 09:33:40 PM »

PennDOT employee (District 6), I can vouch for that. If I recall correctly, PennDOT is responsible for more miles of local road than any other state DOT (as a percentage of total state road miles or whichever way one wishes to measure it). It's a crushing, both from a cost and a man-hours standpoint. I worked closely with the PennDOT maintenance units in each county. There isn't enough hours in the day to get everything done that they have responsibility for. I don't know how they accomplish as much as they do. (Contrary to the old days—and the old jokes—they actually work extremely hard.)

There are 3 state DOTs that are responsible for more miles of local road than PennDOT -- TxDOT, NCDOT and VDOT.
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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #266 on: January 11, 2012, 09:41:55 AM »

On the road tolling is working, they just implemented it here in NC.
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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #267 on: January 11, 2012, 10:35:32 AM »

There are 3 state DOTs that are responsible for more miles of local road than PennDOT -- TxDOT, NCDOT and VDOT.

Thanks for the correction/clarification. I knew PennDOT was at least near the top in that metric.

Question: For the three states you list, is that in terms of absolute number of miles of state DOT-maintained local road, or state DOT-maintained local road miles as a percentage of total road miles in the state? IOW, is that an absolute number or a percentage number? I can certainly see TxDOT being responsible for more absolute local road miles than PennDOT, but as a percentage of total road miles, not so sure.

Anyway, I don't want to get to far in the weeds (and I certainly don't want to imply a my-Pop-can-beat-up-their-Pop attitude). Jes' wonderin'.
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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #268 on: January 11, 2012, 10:56:29 AM »

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.

You're correct, although the point I was getting at was the one in your final sentence. Among other reasons, stopping the traffic in both directions in order to clear the lane that has to be reversed and to ensure that nobody drives into the other lane is a major hassle and causes massive delays. Being able to close one tube on a 2-2-2-2 (or similar design) at least eliminates the need to stop the traffic going the other way.


There are 3 state DOTs that are responsible for more miles of local road than PennDOT -- TxDOT, NCDOT and VDOT.

Thanks for the correction/clarification. I knew PennDOT was at least near the top in that metric.

Question: For the three states you list, is that in terms of absolute number of miles of state DOT-maintained local road, or state DOT-maintained local road miles as a percentage of total road miles in the state? IOW, is that an absolute number or a percentage number? I can certainly see TxDOT being responsible for more absolute local road miles than PennDOT, but as a percentage of total road miles, not so sure.

Anyway, I don't want to get to far in the weeds (and I certainly don't want to imply a my-Pop-can-beat-up-their-Pop attitude). Jes' wonderin'.

I'd be willing to make an educated guess that in Virginia's case it's both raw miles and percentage-wise. Virginia has a tad under 58,000 miles of state-maintained highways, and those include many roads that in other states might be considered "local." Two counties maintain their own roads (except Interstates) for historical reasons, and the independent cities all maintain their own roads. There are also some other roads that are not the responsibility of any governmental entity; most often those are the responsibility of homeowners' associations and the like. At least here in Fairfax County, often when a planned community is built the street that leads in and out will become part of the "VDOT system" while the streets on which people live (which are often, though certainly not always, cul-de-sacs) are left to the HOA. My street is maintained by the HOA and gets paved more frequently, and to a higher standard, than the VDOT-maintained street that connects my street to the primary grid.

On the whole, I wouldn't be surprised to find that over 90% of the roads in Virginia are part of the "VDOT system," though I do not know the exact figure. I base this estimate on the fact that the independent cities are generally relatively small geographically, although I suppose it's fair to note that they often have fairly dense street systems, as do the two counties that maintain their own roads. froggie could probably quote a more exact percentage.


Edited to add: Found the numbers on VDOT's site. The VDOT system includes 57,867 miles of state-maintained roads: 1,118 of Interstates, 8,111 of primary highways, 48,305 of secondary highways, and 333 of frontage roads. There are another 10,561 miles of roads maintained by cities and towns, plus 1,279 miles maintained by Henrico County, 359 miles maintained by Arlington County, and 39 miles of privately-maintained toll roads. Total mileage, then, is 70,105, and the "VDOT system" represents 82.54% of that. So my estimate was a little bit high.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2012, 11:01:03 AM by 1995hoo »
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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #269 on: January 11, 2012, 01:11:14 PM »

North Carolina DOT maintains about 78000 miles of state-owned and maintained highways out of about 100000 miles of roads total, for a percentage of 78%. The rest are maintained either by municipalities or federal agencies, such as the National Park Service (the Blue Ridge Parkway) and the US Forest Service.
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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #270 on: January 11, 2012, 06:34:44 PM »

I can certainly see TxDOT being responsible for more absolute local road miles than PennDOT, but as a percentage of total road miles, not so sure.

I think TxDOT is responsible for about 77,000 miles out of 350,000 total in Texas.
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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #271 on: January 11, 2012, 09:43:31 PM »

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.

You're correct, although the point I was getting at was the one in your final sentence. Among other reasons, stopping the traffic in both directions in order to clear the lane that has to be reversed and to ensure that nobody drives into the other lane is a major hassle and causes massive delays. Being able to close one tube on a 2-2-2-2 (or similar design) at least eliminates the need to stop the traffic going the other way.

It's a lot simpler than that ... while traffic operates continually in the right lane, change the signals for the left lane to RED, wait for the lane to empty, then direct the opposing traffic to that lane.  Each direction sees GREEN signals for the right lane and RED signals for the left lane.



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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #272 on: January 12, 2012, 10:02:21 PM »

On the road tolling is working, they just implemented it here in NC.

We got there a few months before you here in Maryland. <smile>

And north  of the border, Ontario got there with Highway 407 as far back as 1997 (the provincial government sold it off to the private sector in 1999 (details here) under a long-term (99 year) concession).
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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #273 on: January 14, 2012, 01:53:40 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.

You're correct, although the point I was getting at was the one in your final sentence. Among other reasons, stopping the traffic in both directions in order to clear the lane that has to be reversed and to ensure that nobody drives into the other lane is a major hassle and causes massive delays. Being able to close one tube on a 2-2-2-2 (or similar design) at least eliminates the need to stop the traffic going the other way.
What? You're not stopping any traffic if you need to reverse a lane. You close the third lane in the unaffected direction, then run a maintenance or police car through as the last car. Once you've verified the lane is clear, flip directions and open it to the affected traffic. That's really not a hassle.

EDIT: Yeah, what he said, but still run your own car through first.
It's a lot simpler than that ... while traffic operates continually in the right lane, change the signals for the left lane to RED, wait for the lane to empty, then direct the opposing traffic to that lane.  Each direction sees GREEN signals for the right lane and RED signals for the left lane.

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MOVED: Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #274 on: January 14, 2012, 01:59:14 PM »

As requested (or even before I saw the request), I split off the VA SR 7100 discussion to the appropriate Mid-Atlantic board.

http://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=5948.0

 


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