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Author Topic: PA Turnpike News  (Read 512379 times)

briantroutman

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #1850 on: February 07, 2018, 09:55:12 PM »

Will it eventually be six lanes all the way to exit 56?

I would be surprised if not. The PTC’s AADT stats aren’t as easily accessible as PennDOT’s, but the most recent report I could find (2015) shows a volume of roughly 64K from Mid-County to Lansdale, 50K from Lansdale to Quakertown, and 44K from Quakertown to Lehigh Valley.

If 23K on fairly flat terrain between Carlisle and Blue Mountain was enough to warrant a six-lane rebuild, I’d imagine that nearly twice the volume along the direct route between Pennsylvania’s #3 and #1 cities would warrant a similar upgrade.

Traffic volume drops by about a third north of the Lehigh Valley Interchange, so I doubt widening will extend beyond that point in the near future. Also, I previously noted that a couple of recent construction projects—the new Lehigh River bridges near Lehighton and the new Hickory Run Interchange—allow more shoulder room than previous NE Extension facilities, but neither is wide enough to accommodate six lanes. So apparently, the PTC doesn’t consider widening the road to Pocono or beyond in the cards within the serviceable life of those new facilities.
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Roadsguy

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #1851 on: February 08, 2018, 09:27:35 AM »

Aren't Turnpike traffic counts available in PennDOT's traffic count maps?
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briantroutman

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #1852 on: February 08, 2018, 09:37:56 AM »

I had thought not, but apparently they are. In any event, PennDOT’s 2016 maps show a slight bump over the numbers in the PTC’s 2015 report: 65K, 51K, and 46K.
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Roadsguy

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #1853 on: February 08, 2018, 06:06:06 PM »

I had thought not, but apparently they are. In any event, PennDOT’s 2016 maps show a slight bump over the numbers in the PTC’s 2015 report: 65K, 51K, and 46K.

Where even is the PTC's traffic count report? I didn't even know there was a separate one. I guess the PTC just gives PennDOT that data for their maps so that the Turnpike roads aren't just blank. I wish the NJTA did that, since NJDOT's traffic counts don't include the NJTP and I haven't yet found its traffic counts.
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briantroutman

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #1854 on: February 08, 2018, 06:23:21 PM »

I was only able to find it by searching “pa turnpike aadt”, and I came up with a few deep links to PDFs on the PTC’s servers. 2015 is the most recent year for which I could find reports.

Here’s a report for through traffic: https://www.paturnpike.com/yourTurnpike/Reports-Main/2015%20Reports/2015_Mainline_AADT_Report.pdf

And here’s one for exit traffic: https://www.paturnpike.com/yourTurnpike/Reports-Main/2015%20Reports/2015_Interchange_AADT_Report.pdf

They provide some nice detail in that traffic counts are broken down by direction (EB vs. WB or entering vs. exiting), and the percentage of truck traffic is given for each reporting location. Not surprisingly, traffic volume is highest in metro Philadelphia and peaks between Mid-County and Fort Washington (120,088), which is also where the truck percentage bottoms out (11%). Truck volume peaks around 33% between Breezewood and Carlisle which is also where mainline volume tanks—hovering around 23K total.
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Beltway

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #1855 on: February 08, 2018, 07:57:15 PM »

I had thought not, but apparently they are. In any event, PennDOT’s 2016 maps show a slight bump over the numbers in the PTC’s 2015 report: 65K, 51K, and 46K.

Definite 6-lane warrants now, and certainly in a 20-year design horizon.

I was only able to find it by searching “pa turnpike aadt”, and I came up with a few deep links to PDFs on the PTC’s servers. 2015 is the most recent year for which I could find reports.
Here’s a report for through traffic: https://www.paturnpike.com/yourTurnpike/Reports-Main/2015%20Reports/2015_Mainline_AADT_Report.pdf
And here’s one for exit traffic: https://www.paturnpike.com/yourTurnpike/Reports-Main/2015%20Reports/2015_Interchange_AADT_Report.pdf
They provide some nice detail in that traffic counts are broken down by direction (EB vs. WB or entering vs. exiting), and the percentage of truck traffic is given for each reporting location. Not surprisingly, traffic volume is highest in metro Philadelphia and peaks between Mid-County and Fort Washington (120,088), which is also where the truck percentage bottoms out (11%). Truck volume peaks around 33% between Breezewood and Carlisle which is also where mainline volume tanks—hovering around 23K total.

I saw that in the 2014 report, very high volumes between Mid-County and Fort Washington.  Those are 8-lane warrants.  Is it seriously congesting during peak hours with the existing 6 lanes?
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ixnay

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #1856 on: February 08, 2018, 08:04:36 PM »

Traffic volume drops by about a third north of the Lehigh Valley Interchange, so I doubt widening will extend beyond that point in the near future. Also, I previously noted that a couple of recent construction projects—the new Lehigh River bridges near Lehighton and the new Hickory Run Interchange—allow more shoulder room than previous NE Extension facilities, but neither is wide enough to accommodate six lanes. So apparently, the PTC doesn’t consider widening the road to Pocono or beyond in the cards within the serviceable life of those new facilities.

And even if they did, that would create an occasionally h u g e bottleneck at the Lehigh tubes, right?

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briantroutman

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #1857 on: February 08, 2018, 09:04:30 PM »

I saw that in the 2014 report, very high volumes between Mid-County and Fort Washington.  Those are 8-lane warrants.  Is it seriously congesting during peak hours with the existing 6 lanes?

In the afternoon rush, eastbound especially, traffic is usually very heavy coming out of the Valley Forge Interchange and frequently slowing to a standstill from the Norristown ramps through the merge from I-476 North to I-276 East. It remains slow through Fort Washington and generally starts to pick up speed east of there.

Since I live along I-476 and rarely have reason to drive straight through on I-276, I most often encounter this when attempting to head north on the NE Extension anytime during the PM rush. After getting around the backup that forms on the loop ramp from I-476 North to I-76 West at Conshohocken, traffic bound for I-276 East will back up through the Mid-County toll plaza, sometimes as far back as Conshohocken.

And even if they did, that would create an occasionally h u g e bottleneck at the Lehigh tubes, right?

Agreed, although that didn’t stop the PTC from six-laning the mainline right up to the eastern approach to Blue Mountain.
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CanesFan27

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #1858 on: February 08, 2018, 11:43:38 PM »

Live in Bedford or Fulton County, PA? - the Old Pennsylvania Pike Authority is looking for board members.

It appears that the Old Pennsylvania Pike is the new name for the Pike2Bike Abandoned Pennsylvania Turnpike Project

http://www.altoonamirror.com/news/local-news/2018/01/applicants-sought-for-abandoned-turnpike-authority/
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qguy

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #1859 on: February 09, 2018, 06:48:19 AM »

I saw that in the 2014 report, very high volumes between Mid-County and Fort Washington.  Those are 8-lane warrants.  Is it seriously congesting during peak hours with the existing 6 lanes?

In the afternoon rush, eastbound especially, traffic is usually very heavy coming out of the Valley Forge Interchange and frequently slowing to a standstill from the Norristown ramps through the merge from I-476 North to I-276 East. It remains slow through Fort Washington and generally starts to pick up speed east of there.

Since I live along I-476 and rarely have reason to drive straight through on I-276, I most often encounter this when attempting to head north on the NE Extension anytime during the PM rush. After getting around the backup that forms on the loop ramp from I-476 North to I-76 West at Conshohocken, traffic bound for I-276 East will back up through the Mid-County toll plaza, sometimes as far back as Conshohocken.

All too true. When I lived in Northeast Philadelphia and worked at the PennDOT District 6 office, I commuted through that stretch. By far the most congestion was between Mid-County and Fort Washington. The portion between Mid-County and Valley Forge was almost as bad.

I was doing that back when E-ZPass was first implemented (2001, IIRC). Overnight, E-ZPass reduced my drive time by 15 minutes each way. IOW, I had an extra half hour to spend with my family every day. Before E-ZPass the traffic exiting at Valley Forge would back up onto the main line for at least a mile. I can't imagine what it would be like today.

Now that I live in Lebanon (PA), I sometimes travel into Philadelphia on business. I'm amazed how much traffic pours onto the Turnpike in the mornings at Downingtown and even at Morgantown, heading into Phila. The congestion is really bad out to Downingtown and the PTC still has yet to begin construction on the six-lane widening from Valley Forge to Great Valley (PA 29), let alone to Downingtown.

If I'm traveling into Philadelphia and I don't need my car during the day, to avoid the congestion on the Turnpike (not to mention on the Schuylkill Expressway) I'll get off at Great Valley and take SEPTA regional rail in from Malvern. If only the train ran out to Lebanon!
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Chris19001

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #1860 on: February 09, 2018, 01:12:54 PM »

I used to commute that stretch between Ft Washington and Lansdale fairly often.  I was hoping to someday see a widening expansion on I-276 between MidCounty and Ft Washington to alleviate the daily backups.  Even if the PATP would add a fourth lane that continued the 476N to 276E on ramp into the Ft Washington offramp, I think it would be a huge help.  The rebuilt bridge over 309 was built with an extra eastbound lane approach, but the bridge over SEPTA's Lansdale line was not reconstructed for an additional lane, so its an abrupt lane start.  The westbound 4th lane would also improve traffic flow in that there is so much traffic entering at Ft Washington and exiting at Mid-County.
Now I grant that there would be a lot of retaining wall reconstruction necessary for an additional lane, and the Joshua Road bridge would finally need to be rebuilt to widen the right of way.  I believe Joshua Road escaped the last reconstruction in the 1980's by shrinking the median.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #1861 on: March 14, 2018, 05:46:40 AM »

Pittsburgh Post Gazette: Pennsylvania Turnpike made $3.7 million mistake in Southern Beltway construction

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The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission made a $3.7 million mistake in the way it handled potentially hazardous material as part of the construction of the Southern Beltway in Washington County.

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The state Department of Environmental Protection ordered that an acid solution known as pickle liquor sludge found during excavation must be treated as hazardous material. Instead of removing and storing 66,000 tons of pickle liquor sludge found last spring and summer for reuse elsewhere at the site, as turnpike designers called for, workers will have to take it to a licensed landfill as a hazardous material. As a result, the commission board last week approved a $3.7 million change order in the contract for Independence Excavating of Cleveland to cover the cost of hauling and landfill fees, as well as covering the areas where it had been temporarily stored.
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Beltway

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #1862 on: March 14, 2018, 07:05:02 AM »

Pittsburgh Post Gazette: Pennsylvania Turnpike made $3.7 million mistake in Southern Beltway construction

It would help if they provided a better description of this material.  It has nothing to do with the common definitions of pickles and liquor.  Plus there is 66 thousand tons of the stuff.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pickling_(metal)

Pickling is a metal surface treatment used to remove impurities, such as stains, inorganic contaminants, rust or scale from ferrous metals, copper, precious metals and aluminum alloys.  A solution called pickle liquor, which usually contains acid, is used to remove the surface impurities.  It is commonly used to descale or clean steel in various steelmaking processes.

Pickling sludge is the waste product from pickling, and includes acidic rinse waters, iron chlorides, and metallic salts and waste acid.  Spent pickle liquor is considered a hazardous waste by the EPA.  Pickle sludge from steel processes is usually neutralized with lime and disposed of in a landfill since the EPA no longer deems it a hazardous waste after neutralization.  The lime neutralization process raises the pH of the spent acid.  The waste material is subject to a waste determination to ensure no characteristic or listed waste is present.  Since the 1960s, hydrochloric pickling sludge is often treated in a hydrochloric acid regeneration system, which recovers some of the hydrochloric acid and ferric oxide. The rest must still be neutralized and disposed of in land fills or managed as a hazardous waste based on the waste profile analysis.   The by-products of nitric acid pickling are marketable to other industries, such as fertilizer processors.
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ixnay

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #1863 on: March 14, 2018, 07:51:45 AM »

Pittsburgh Post Gazette: Pennsylvania Turnpike made $3.7 million mistake in Southern Beltway construction

It would help if they provided a better description of this material.  It has nothing to do with the common definitions of pickles and liquor.  Plus there is 66 thousand tons of the stuff.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pickling_(metal)

Pickling is a metal surface treatment used to remove impurities, such as stains, inorganic contaminants, rust or scale from ferrous metals, copper, precious metals and aluminum alloys.  A solution called pickle liquor, which usually contains acid, is used to remove the surface impurities.  It is commonly used to descale or clean steel in various steelmaking processes.

Pickling sludge is the waste product from pickling, and includes acidic rinse waters, iron chlorides, and metallic salts and waste acid.  Spent pickle liquor is considered a hazardous waste by the EPA.  Pickle sludge from steel processes is usually neutralized with lime and disposed of in a landfill since the EPA no longer deems it a hazardous waste after neutralization.  The lime neutralization process raises the pH of the spent acid.  The waste material is subject to a waste determination to ensure no characteristic or listed waste is present.  Since the 1960s, hydrochloric pickling sludge is often treated in a hydrochloric acid regeneration system, which recovers some of the hydrochloric acid and ferric oxide. The rest must still be neutralized and disposed of in land fills or managed as a hazardous waste based on the waste profile analysis.   The by-products of nitric acid pickling are marketable to other industries, such as fertilizer processors.

Or as I might have put it, "Vlasic and Jack Daniel's".

ixnay
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cpzilliacus

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #1864 on: March 14, 2018, 09:59:17 AM »

Pittsburgh Post Gazette: Pennsylvania Turnpike made $3.7 million mistake in Southern Beltway construction

It would help if they provided a better description of this material.  It has nothing to do with the common definitions of pickles and liquor.  Plus there is 66 thousand tons of the stuff.

Perhaps because this part of Pennsylvania was once a major producer of steel, the writer and the editor assumed that readers would know what (spent) pickle liquor is?

I knew it was a byproduct of steel production from a project I worked on decades ago that had nothing to do with steel, but did have to do with transport of hazardous materials (a load of this has to be placarded with code 1760).  You can see the details here or here.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2018, 10:04:08 AM by cpzilliacus »
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Beltway

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #1865 on: March 14, 2018, 11:15:41 AM »

Pittsburgh Post Gazette: Pennsylvania Turnpike made $3.7 million mistake in Southern Beltway construction
It would help if they provided a better description of this material.  It has nothing to do with the common definitions of pickles and liquor.  Plus there is 66 thousand tons of the stuff.
Perhaps because this part of Pennsylvania was once a major producer of steel, the writer and the editor assumed that readers would know what (spent) pickle liquor is?
I knew it was a byproduct of steel production from a project I worked on decades ago that had nothing to do with steel, but did have to do with transport of hazardous materials (a load of this has to be placarded with code 1760).  You can see the details here or here.

As much as I have read about highway EIS related issues, I had never heard about this before.  Maybe because it has been decades since it was used and dumped anywhere?  Lots of their readers would be too young to remember when it was produced. 
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cpzilliacus

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #1866 on: March 14, 2018, 01:41:13 PM »

As much as I have read about highway EIS related issues, I had never heard about this before.  Maybe because it has been decades since it was used and dumped anywhere?  Lots of their readers would be too young to remember when it was produced. 

I do recall that the rerouting of U.S. 15 and U.S. 11 near Shamokin Dam was impacted by massive deposits of coal ash (nasty stuff) from a coal-fired generating station there.  PennDOT ended up changing the route because of the cost associated with remediating the coal ash dump.

I believe pickle liquor is still used by steel mills today, which means that there is almost certainly waste sludge generated too.  Of course, the U.S. generally and Southwest Pennsylvania have many less of those today than  they once did. 

The big one in Maryland at Sparrows Point (next to MD-695 (signed I-695) on the east side of the FSK Bridge) has been shut and most of it torn down, and the site will be used for other purposes.

The better question might be this - why was there never a circumferential freeway built around Pittsburgh in the first place?  I realize that there is the (rough) outline of such a road by combining the awful part of I-70 between Washington and New Stanton, I-76 (Penna. Turnpike), and I-79 (or part of I-376), but none of those appear to have been routed to be a circumferential, and just combining I-70, I-76 and I-79 into a "beltway" is almost 130 miles (example here).
« Last Edit: March 14, 2018, 01:44:47 PM by cpzilliacus »
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briantroutman

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #1867 on: March 14, 2018, 02:07:23 PM »

The better question might be this - why was there never a circumferential freeway built around Pittsburgh in the first place?

Without giving the matter a great deal of detailed contemplation, my initial reaction is that the answer seems fairly obvious: Pittsburgh is already bypassed by all of the major through routes that come anywhere near it (I-70, I-76, I-79). So a beltway would serve little purpose other than to facilitate suburb-to-suburb commuting—and accelerate patterns of migration and development which are dependent on that kind of suburban access.

We may have differing opinions on whether that is an undesirable outcome, but I think it’s safe to say that this type of development has been an unintended consequence in other cities where beltways were constructed in the ’50s and ’60s on the pretense of providing through traffic a bypass to avoid congested downtown districts.
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Mr_Northside

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #1868 on: March 14, 2018, 03:05:21 PM »

The better question might be this - why was there never a circumferential freeway built around Pittsburgh in the first place?

Without giving the matter a great deal of detailed contemplation, my initial reaction is that the answer seems fairly obvious: Pittsburgh is already bypassed by all of the major through routes that come anywhere near it (I-70, I-76, I-79).

I'm sure the biggest, and most obvious answer to the question is:  Money (or lack of)
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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #1869 on: March 14, 2018, 03:08:15 PM »

The better question might be this - why was there never a circumferential freeway built around Pittsburgh in the first place?

Without giving the matter a great deal of detailed contemplation, my initial reaction is that the answer seems fairly obvious: Pittsburgh is already bypassed by all of the major through routes that come anywhere near it (I-70, I-76, I-79).

I'm sure the biggest, and most obvious answer to the question is:  Money (or lack of)


I would think the more significant answer is: Was one ever planned in the first place?  If there was, then you can move into the Why of why wasn't it built.
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briantroutman

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #1870 on: March 14, 2018, 03:35:26 PM »

Yes—according to most planning maps I’ve seen, at least a couple of beltway-type routes were planned at various points, including the ones shown on the 1963 map below that Jeff Kitsko has on his website.

So my guess is that, since suburb-to-suburb beltways weren’t among the region’s most pressing transportation needs in the 1950s and ’60s, those projects were deferred as PennDOT prioritized the routes to and through downtown Pittsburgh. Then by the time those routes were completed in the 1970s, there was no additional funding available, so the beltway routes (and others) were scrapped indefinitely.

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cpzilliacus

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #1871 on: March 14, 2018, 04:13:11 PM »

Yes—according to most planning maps I’ve seen, at least a couple of beltway-type routes were planned at various points, including the ones shown on the 1963 map below that Jeff Kitsko has on his website.

That is a pretty impressive network.
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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #1872 on: March 14, 2018, 04:35:03 PM »

The better question might be this - why was there never a circumferential freeway built around Pittsburgh in the first place?
Without giving the matter a great deal of detailed contemplation, my initial reaction is that the answer seems fairly obvious: Pittsburgh is already bypassed by all of the major through routes that come anywhere near it (I-70, I-76, I-79). So a beltway would serve little purpose other than to facilitate suburb-to-suburb commuting—and accelerate patterns of migration and development which are dependent on that kind of suburban access.

Then why were circumferential freeways like I-295 and I-476 and US-322 Barry Bridge built when the PA and NJ turnpikes and Delaware Memorial Bridge already bypassed Philadelphia?

Simple - they were needed for additional capacity and various local accesses and interregional bypasses.

Pittsburgh didn't build a beltway for one reason, they were backward.

I-79 is the only segment that functions anywhere like a beltway-type freeway, and only in the sense of distance from the city and its interchange spacing.  I-70 is way too far away.  The Turnpike passes close enough to the city on the northeast quadrant but its widely spaced interchanges (10 mile average between I-70 and I-79) do not provide beltway-like access.

As such the Southern Beltway and final leg of the MFE will provide a much needed beltway freeway facility, at least on the southern quadrants.  The planning has advanced to where they have a completed EIS/NEPA process.  Move ahead!
« Last Edit: March 14, 2018, 04:48:49 PM by Beltway »
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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #1873 on: March 14, 2018, 07:17:55 PM »

As most know, the Southern Beltway is under construction down to I79, also I understand that ROW work for PA 43 up to the Kennywood area will start soon.
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ixnay

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #1874 on: March 14, 2018, 08:22:23 PM »

Yes—according to most planning maps I’ve seen, at least a couple of beltway-type routes were planned at various points, including the ones shown on the 1963 map below that Jeff Kitsko has on his website.

So my guess is that, since suburb-to-suburb beltways weren’t among the region’s most pressing transportation needs in the 1950s and ’60s, those projects were deferred as PennDOT prioritized the routes to and through downtown Pittsburgh. Then by the time those routes were completed in the 1970s, there was no additional funding available, so the beltway routes (and others) were scrapped indefinitely.



Here's the link...

http://www.pahighways.com/graphics/maps/pgh1963.jpg?lbisphpreq=1

ixnay
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