$500M In Transportation Projects Listed In Montgomery, Chester Counties

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Plans to spend more than $500 million in the next 10 years on transportation projects in the Chester and Montgomery county areas around Pottstown will move forward thanks to the approval of the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission.

The planning agency for the nine-county region around Philadelphia announced Thursday that it has added an additional $10.5 billion worth of work to its list of projects through 2040 as the result of the passage of last year’s transportation bill.

Locally, the list of projects includes the replacement of the Keim Street Bridge, major repairs and bridge replacements on Route 422 from Royersford to the Berks County line, as well as connections on the Schuylkill River Trail between Pottstown and Parker Ford.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140729/500m-in-transportation-projects-listed-in-montgomery-chester-counties

Planners Want A Park To Replace Part Of Pittsburgh Zoo’s Asphalt Parking Lot

Locator map with the Highland Park neighborhoo...

Locator map with the Highland Park neighborhood in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania highlighted. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

City and neighborhood leaders envision a dramatic transformation of the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium’s parking lot and surrounding areas into a park-like expanse including a soccer field and a trail that would extend from Morningside all the way to the Allegheny River.

City Council this month approved the first installment of funding for planning what would be a multimillion-dollar project, which has the backing of Highland Park and Morningside neighborhood leaders and the zoo.

The Heth’s Run Ecological and Recreational Restoration Project, more than a decade in the making, will encompass about a mile of city-owned land from Heth’s Run Playfields behind Chislett Street in Morningside to the Allegheny riverfront.

The project includes a wheelchair-accessible trail through the wooded valley adjacent to the fields into a former city Department of Public Works storage yard and abandoned dumping ground behind the zoo’s parking lot. The paved trail will hug the outer edge of the parking lot, loop under the new Heth’s Run Bridge being built on Butler Street and out to the riverfront.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/local/city/2014/07/26/Planners-want-park-to-replace-part-of-Pittsburgh-Zoo-PPG-Aquariums-parking-lot/stories/201407260045#ixzz38aV0kjAZ

Speed Limit To Rise To 70 Mph On Stretch Of I-380

English: Interstate 380 northbound at the Inte...

English: Interstate 380 northbound at the Interstate 84 split south of Scranton. Picture taken by Chris Wilson on February 18th, 2006 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

HARRISBURG — A stretch of Interstate 380 becomes an experiment next month when state transportation officials boost the maximum speed limit to 70 mph.

Another pilot will raise the speed limit to 70 mph on a 100-mile stretch of the Pennsylvania Turnpike in southcentral Pennsylvania. If all goes well, the rest of the 550-mile toll road system, including the Northeast Extension, could follow suit next spring, said Turnpike Commission CEO Mark Compton at a press conference on Wednesday.

On I-380, a 21-mile section selected for the pilot program will extend from the Interstate 84 junction in Lackawanna County to Exit 3 (Pocono Pines/Mount Pocono) in Monroe County.

“It’s about time,” said Elwood “Butch” Perry, a 60-year-old independent trucker who lives in Dupont. “They built the interstate system so you can run, not so you can crawl. … We live in a fast-paced society now. Everything has to be there yesterday.”

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/speed-limit-to-rise-to-70-mph-on-stretch-of-i-380-1.1723951

Transportation Plan Calls For $4.7 Billion For Southwestern Pennsylvania

Locator map of the Greater Pittsburgh metro ar...

Locator map of the Greater Pittsburgh metro area in the western part of the of . Red denotes the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area, and yellow denotes the New Castle Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is included in the Pittsburgh-New Castle CSA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A draft plan for improvements to the region’s transportation system envisions $4.7 billion in spending in the 10 counties of southwestern Pennsylvania in the next four years, a 52 percent increase from the current four-year plan.

The plan for fiscal years 2015 through 2018 signals a reversal of years of diminished spending on infrastructure and public transit, bolstered by the funding bill that the Legislature and Gov. Tom Corbett enacted last fall. The draft Transportation Improvement Plan was released last week by the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission, a regional planning agency.

“From my perspective, we were able to add significant projects that were simply unaffordable in the last TIP update,” said Dan Cessna, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s district executive for Allegheny, Beaver and Lawrence counties.

Among them is a $79 million rehabilitation of the Liberty Bridge in Downtown Pittsburgh, which at present is weight-restricted and rated structurally deficient, meaning its components are deteriorated but not yet unsafe. Numerous smaller bridge and paving projects were added as well, he said.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/frontpage/2014/06/23/Plan-calls-for-boost-for-southwestern-Pa-transportation/stories/201406230085#ixzz35UedvrMx

Cross-State Cost On Pennsylvania Turnpike In 2015: $46.05

Pennsylvania Turnpike Ticket from the Warrenda...

Pennsylvania Turnpike Ticket from the Warrendale (30) Toll Stop. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tolls on the Pennsylvania Turnpike will increase 5 percent in 2015, effective Jan. 4.

The decision by the Turnpike Commission Tuesday to hike tolls for the seventh year in a row means the cash toll to drive from the Ohio border to the New Jersey border will be $46.05 for passenger cars, up from the current $43.85

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/transportation/20140618_Cross-state_cost_on_Pa__Turnpike_in_2015___46_05.html#oMutHh3mv0r47KXy.99

New Jersey-To-Philly Commuters Face Rough Summer

A PATCO Speedline train pulls into Woodcrest s...

A PATCO Speedline train pulls into Woodcrest station, heading towards Philadelphia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

CAMDEN, N.J. (AP) – Commuters between southern New Jersey and Philadelphia are in for a rough summer.

Work on the tracks and electrical systems on the PATCO Speedline will mean a less frequent schedule for the train line used by 40,000 per day and closed car lanes on the Ben Franklin Bridge, which carries trains – and 100,000 cars daily – over the Delaware River,

“I have no choice but to catch the train because the parking is horrible and expensive over there,” Juanita King, who works as a scheduler at Philadelphia’s Pennsylvania Hospital, said before she hopped on her train recently at Camden’s Ferry Avenue Station, a popular place for park-and-ride customers from Camden and Gloucester counties.

A round-trip ride from there is $4.50 a day and most of the parking is free.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/transportation/20140525_ap_f585186901dd4e639c628853a7f38cd5.html#hVeJsZcKJYLOL6tO.99

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Interstate 70 Modernization Projects To Move Highway Into 21st Century

Belle Vernon/ Speers Bridge

Belle Vernon/ Speers Bridge (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  This road was a death-trap when I was living in the Mon Valley back in the 1970’s.  Glad it only took 40 years for PennDot to realize it!

A grassy mound in the backyard of Melvin “Bucky” Walkush’s childhood home is the only visible reminder of the popular carhop restaurant that served the best pizza he’s ever tasted.

It was the 1950s. Elvis topped the charts. Ike was in the White House. The Ford Thunderbird was one of the hottest cars around.

And the New 71 Barbeque along old state Route 71 in North Belle Vernon, owned by Walkush’s brother Joe and his wife, Adeline, was the place to stop for anyone using the highway linking Greensburg and Washington, Pa.

The restaurant is gone now, and the stretch of Route 71 that Walkush, 84, remembers was decommissioned in the 1960s to become part of Interstate 70 between New Stanton and Washington.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/allegheny/5870537-74/washington-walkush-highway#ixzz32BzJh8u9
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Your Pennsylvania Tax Dollars At Work!

Apparently, this is the best canned music your tax dollars can buy while you wait to connect to an E-ZPass Customer Service Representative. This so rates speakerphone! Only in Pennsylvania.

Data Shows 44% Of Luzerne County Spans Are Deficient Or Obsolete

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In advance of a press conference set for this afternoon in Scranton, U.S. Sen. Robert Casey, D-Scranton, released a county by county list of bridges deemed structurally deficient or functionally obsolete throughout Pennsylvania, and while Luzerne County isn’t the worst of the bunch, it’s deep in the bottom half.

The list shows Luzerne County has 441 bridges, with 121 of them structurally deficient and another 75 functionally obsolete. Combined, that means 44 percent of all bridges are sub par.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/local-news-news/1368282/Data-shows-44–of-Luzerne-County-spans-are-deficient-or-obsolete

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$300M Being Pumped Into I-81Between Wilkes-Barre And Scranton

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metro...

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Statistical Area in the northeastern part of the of . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Christopher Santizo faces a challenge every time he drives to class at Luzerne County Community College in Nanticoke.

The 29-year-old graphic design and advertising student who commutes from Duryea, said construction on Interstate 81 routinely has made it difficult to get to class on time.

“I’ve been everywhere from stopped to 45 miles per hour,” he said.

He is among an estimated 70,000 drivers who traverse a half-dozen Pennsylvania Department of Transportation construction projects totaling more than $100 million between Wilkes-Barre and Scranton. Upon completion of those projects, PennDOT will begin widening the highway near Scranton to the tune of $174 million — ensuring years of additional construction zones.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/local-news-news/1333853/Endless-I-81-construction-tests-drivers-patience

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Carbondale Recognized As Top Spot By PA Route 6 Alliance

Map of U.S. Route 6 in Pennsylvania

Map of U.S. Route 6 in Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

CARBONDALE, PA – An investment in Carbondale’s rich history, a new hotel and improvements to sidewalks and streetlights downtown helped the city garner top honors from a nonprofit dedicated to promoting tourism along historic Route 6.

The PA Route 6 Alliance named Carbondale as the Heritage Community of the Year, making it No. 1 among more than 20 heritage communities that stretch along the 427 miles of Route 6 in Pennsylvania.

“It’s nice to be recognized for working so hard,” Carbondale Mayor Justin Taylor said.

Carbondale began working toward a Route 6 Heritage Community designation in 2003, Mr. Taylor said. The Route 6 Alliance is a nonprofit organization that promotes tourism and economic development along the Route 6 corridor in Pennsylvania.

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/carbondale-recognized-as-top-spot-by-pa-route-6-alliance-1.1675579

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Work On Civic Arena Site To Begin In August

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its nei...

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its neighborhoods labeled. For use primarily in the list of Pittsburgh neighborhoods. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Construction of streets at the former Civic Arena site, now a sprawling parking lot in the heart of Pittsburgh, will begin in August, officials said on Thursday.

It will be the first significant activity on the 28-acre site since crews completed demolition of the arena about two years ago. More than $500 million in redevelopment is planned.

“We’re almost ready to start construction of the urban street grid,” said Mary Conturo, executive director of the city-county Sports & Exhibition Authority.

The first phase is expected to cost $9 million and focus on building interior streets on the eastern part of the site, Conturo said. The work is expected to take about a year.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/adminpage/5924203-74/conturo-site-million#ixzz2ybAziPaI
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PennDOT Plans 6-Mile I-81 Widening

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lackawanna County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lackawanna County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

DUNMORE, PA — The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation plans to rebuild and widen six miles of Interstate 81 from the Luzerne County line to the Central Scranton Expressway.

But that’s not expected to happen anytime soon.

According to information from PennDOT spokesman Mike Taluto, the project is at least five years away and would take three to four years to complete. The estimated cost is $174 million.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/local-news-news/1316029/PennDOT-plans-6-mile-I-81-widening

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PennDOT To Spend More In Fayette, Westmoreland Counties

English: Pennsylvania county map

English: Pennsylvania county map (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The state is primed to pump approximately $33.8 million in additional money into highway and bridge projects in Fayette and Westmoreland counties this year with revenue generated from higher fees paid by motorists.

PennDOT said it would use the revenue from Act 89 to make about 59 miles of improvements to 12 roads in both counties.

In Westmoreland, 40 miles of improvements are planned to Routes 66, 119, 130, 356, 381, 819, 981 and 993 in Allegheny, Donegal, Hempfield, Loyalhanna, North Huntingdon, Penn, Salem, Unity and Washington townships, as well as Greensburg, Jeannette, Irwin, Manor and Trafford.

Those projects are estimated to cost $10.5 million.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/westmoreland/5890090-74/bridge-museum-penndot#ixzz2yKTmZ9oQ
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Columbia Bypass Work Beginning

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When explaining to various officials the problems truck traffic causes in Columbia, Mayor Leo Lutz liked to give tours.

In the basement of Hinkle’s Pharmacy, they could see old brick and mortar being turned to powder, and feel the heavy trucks travel on Locust Street.

On the sidewalks, they could see, hear and feel the trucks rumble by in the center of the historic town.

“Then they knew what we were talking about,” Lutz said.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/columbia/news/columbia-bypass-work-beginning/article_d65b79c6-beb7-11e3-9333-001a4bcf6878.html

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Planner: Despite $90 Million Cost, Route 222 Widening Not A Return To Big PennDOT Projects

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Friday evening, just as it is most evenings, traffic was backed up as drivers coming from U.S. 30 waited to merge onto Route 222 in Manheim Township.

Friday morning, just as it is most weekday mornings, the Route 222 traffic backed up merging onto U.S. 30.

The situation is nothing new to PennDOT.

With additional money coming from the new state transportation law, state Transportation Department officials will soon begin looking for ways to address the problem.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/conestogavalley/news/planner-despite-million-cost-route-widening-not-a-return-to/article_de7c88b6-bc32-11e3-a1a1-001a4bcf6878.html

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Gov. Corbett Announces Hundreds Of Additional Projects Due To Transportation Plan

Map of Pennsylvania

Map of Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

HARRISBURG, PA – Gov. Tom Corbett today outlined more than 250 projects that will start work this year due to the state’s new transportation plan.

At least $2.1 billion will be invested into the state’s highway and bridge network — about $600 million more than what would have been available without the transportation bill Corbett signed last fall. Overall, more than 900 projects will get underway this year.

“This plan is creating safer roads, bridges and transit systems while at the same time saving 12,000 jobs and creating 50,000 new ones over the next five years – 18,000 jobs are expected to be created this year alone.” Corbett said. “We are putting these transportation investments to work quickly as we strive to build a stronger Pennsylvania both now and in the future.”

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/local-news-news/1301350/Gov.-Corbett-announces-hundreds-of-additional-projects-due-to-transportation-plan

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Last Year’s Gridlock Looms Large Over Pirates’ Opener

PNC Park

PNC Park (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fans arriving for Opening Day on Monday will be getting an earlier start to tailgating around PNC Park, and so will police hoping to avoid last year’s gridlock — but not by much.

Police spokeswoman Sonya Toler said officers assigned to ease congestion and operate signals at the busiest intersections will start arriving at their posts at 10:30 a.m., at least 45 minutes earlier than last year.

But this year’s first pitch is about a half-hour earlier, about 1 p.m. Parking lots and garages open to tailgaters at 9 a.m., and the ballpark gates open at 11. Officials urge fans to have patience, use mass transit or park farther away from the ball field.

“If people can curtail their excitement with a little bit of patience, we’ll be able to help them get where they need to go,” Toler said.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/allegheny/5830137-74/parking-pirates-fans#ixzz2xYokJ1U5
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Pennsylvania Turnpike To Raise Tolls In 2015

Pennsylvania Turnpike Ticket from the Warrenda...

Pennsylvania Turnpike Ticket from the Warrendale (30) Toll Stop. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pennsylvania Turnpike drivers can expect another toll increase of at least 3 percent next January, and continuing annual increases for years to come, turnpike CEO Mark Compton said Thursday.

Speaking at the annual meeting of the Airport Corridor Transportation Association, Mr. Compton said the state’s new transportation funding law has shortened, but not eliminated, the turnpike’s requirement to pay $450 million a year to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

Instead of continuing to 2057, the required payments will end after 2022, he said. Toll increases are needed to underwrite the debt incurred by the turnpike in making those payments.

In the past, PennDOT has directed $200 million from each payment to non-turnpike highway projects and $250 million to mass transit. The new law directs all of the $450 million to transit.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/news/transportation/2014/03/28/Pennsylvania-Turnpike-to-raise-tolls-in-2015/stories/201403280114#ixzz2xHOq34iN

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