Subject Of Manhunt Captured Near Morgantown

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After eluding a massive manhunt in southern Berks County for hours and hours, a cold, hungry and tired truck driver must have been drawn by the outdoor security light of the Chestnut Hill Field Archers clubhouse, the club president said Friday.

Larry Buzzard, club president, said there’s a hollow that the wanted trucker could have followed from the spot on Interstate 176 where he crashed Thursday morning and ran from police. That hollow leads to a ridge from which he would have seen the light on the clubhouse, near the Conestoga Landfill in New Morgan, shining like a beacon in a sea of darkness.

“It can be seen for miles,” said Buzzard, who lives in Caernarvon Township, Lancaster County.

State police said Harold A. Davis Jr. broke into the clubhouse on Quarry Road and spent the night.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=519195

Police Looking For Truck Driver After Chase In Berks County

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A trucker wanted for robbery in Florida drove more than 3 miles on Interstate 176 this morning with a state trooper clinging to the cab of his truck before crashing and fleeing into the woods, setting off an extensive manhunt. The trooper was not injured.

Police have identified the man as Harold. A. Davis Jr., 56, of Philadelphia. He remains at large, with dozens of police officers from all around Berks County joining in the search.

The incident began about 10 a.m. when Davis drove through a truck inspection detail being done by Caernarvon Police on Interstate 176 just north of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, said Trooper David C. Beohm, state police spokesman. A trooper approached Davis’ car hauler, but as he mounted the truck to speak with the driver Davis began to pull away, starting a slow-speed chase with the trooper still hanging from the side of the cab.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=519081

Pennsylvania Among Worst In Nation For Failing Bridges

Map of Pennsylvania, showing major cities and ...

Map of Pennsylvania, showing major cities and roads (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania is among the nation’s leaders in bridges that both lack backup protection against collapse in case a single, vital component fails and are designated by highway officials as being in need of repair, an Associated Press review of national bridge records found.

Some are among the busiest in the state, including the 85-year-old Liberty Bridge, spanning the Monongahela River from downtown Pittsburgh to its south side, and an Interstate 95 span in Philadelphia’s lower northeast section along the Delaware River.

Others are on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

Fewer than a third are state-owned, with many owned by county and municipal governments or railroads.

Read more: http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2013/09/pa_is_among_national_leaders_i.html#incart_river_default

Goodbye, Tollbooth: E-ZPass Will Soon Retire A Turnpike Icon

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission is moving ahead with plans to convert to an all-electronic toll collection system by 2018, an inevitable nod to technology that will improve the situation for motorists.

Once fully implemented, the 545-mile turnpike’s 76 tollbooths will be a thing of the past.  Vehicles would maintain normal highway speeds as they pass under overhead stanchions equipped with electronic readers, which is what happens now in some E-ZPass lanes.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/opinion/editorials/goodbye-tollbooth-e-zpass-will-soon-retire-a-turnpike-icon-701322/#ixzz2dTiWEbl9

Turnpike Tolls To Increase, Especially For Cash Customers

Pennsylvania Turnpike/Interstate 95 Interchang...

Pennsylvania Turnpike/Interstate 95 Interchange Project (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Drivers on the Pennsylvania Turnpike will notice a bump in their tolls next year, especially when paying with cash.

On Monday the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission announced toll increases of 12 percent for cash customers and 2 percent for E-ZPass customers.  The new rates go into effect Jan. 5.

In a statement, the commission said it needed the rate hike to make its annual $450 million payment to the state and to fund additional construction on the turnpike.

The five-member commission approved the increase at its July 15 meeting.

Read more:   http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=497929

PA Turnpike To Be Widened From Valley Forge To Downingtown

Pennsylvania Turnpike/Interstate 95 Interchang...

Pennsylvania Turnpike/Interstate 95 Interchange Project (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission has picked a construction manager for a $480 million road-widening project between the Valley Forge and Downingtown interchanges.

Hill International of Marlton, N.J., will be paid $17.1 million to manage the project. Roadwork is expected to begin in the summer of 2014 and will continue into 2020, Pennsylvania Turnpike spokesman Carl DeFebo said Wednesday.

The roadwork will be done in two phases, DeFebo said, beginning next summer at the Valley Forge interchange and going west for about six miles.  That work is expected to last about three years, the spokesman said.

Read more:   http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130718/NEWS03/130719320/turnpike-to-be-widened-from-valley-forge-to-downingtown-#full_story

The 13 Worst Commutes Around Philadelphia

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

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

Editor’s note:  The only thing I would add is that I might start this at Royersford or Collegeville.  However, I don’t miss that drive after doing it for almost 20 years!

Commuters who drive on Interstate 676 between I-95 and I-76 or on state Route 611 between the Pennsylvania Turnpike and I-95 during rush hour spend 125 hours a year sitting in traffic.

Those are the worst commutes in the region, according to a new report from TRIP, a transportation research group backed by advocates for highway improvements.

Besides the lost hours due to congestion, drivers on those stretches of I-676 and Route 611 also waste 54 gallons of gas per year, TRIP’s report found. Here are the routes the organization says are the worst commutes in the Philadelphia region, based on time and fuel lost due to traffic congestion during peak hours:

3. U.S. Route 422 from U.S. 202 to Egypt Road in Montgomery County:  Drivers lose 67 hours and 29 gallons of gas annually due to congestion; 64,000 to 83,000 daily drivers

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/phillylists/The-13-worst-commutes-around-Philadelphia.html#Yd4beskKgRTJub4q.99

Without Changes, It Would Cost $50 To Cross The Turnpike By 2021

Pennsylvania Turnpike/Interstate 95 Interchang...

Pennsylvania Turnpike/Interstate 95 Interchange Project (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If the legislature doesn’t phase out the $450 million the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission must pay PennDOT every year, it will cost a driver $50 in tolls to cross the state within eight years, according to Auditor General Eugene DePasquale.

If Act 44, the 2007 bill that required the turnpike to fund bridge repair and mass transit, isn’t changed, the toll for a trip across the state would rise to $150 by 2057, DePasquale warned in a report on Turnpike debt issued Tuesday.

His report comes as the legislature is working through a massive transportation funding bill. Gov. Tom Corbett and leaders in both the House and Senate have said sunsetting Act 44 must be a part of any legislation.  If Act 44 is not phased out, Turnpike CEO Mark Compton has said the commission will have to begin scaling back its maintenance and improvement budget.

Read more:  http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2013/06/without_changes_it_would_cost.html#incart_m-rpt-2

Interstate 81 Should Reopen In Harrisburg By Tuesday Morning, PennDOT Officials Say

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Dauphin County

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

Under ideal circumstances, transportation officials hope to reopen all lanes of Interstate 81 underneath the ramp damaged by last week’s tanker fire by early Tuesday morning.

“Our goal will be [to reopen I-81] for the Tuesday morning rush,” said Mike Keiser, the area district executive for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation during a news conference Sunday at the scene of the fire on I-81, near Exit 67.

“I-81 should be back to full lanes in all directions by Tuesday,” he said.

Keiser also announced the completion of crossover lanes splitting the two westbound lanes of Route 22 into a single eastbound and a single westbound lane.  Access to Harrisburg via the crossover should be available after 4 p.m. Sunday, Keiser said.

Read more:  http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2013/05/interstate_81_should_be_open_i.html#incart_river_default

Financing For Pennsylvania Turnpike/I-95 Connector Concerns Auditor General

Map of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said Friday that an unusual plan to finance construction of the I-95/Pennsylvania Turnpike connection “raises alarms” and may prompt an investigation by his office.

DePasquale said he was especially interested in why an entity was created to broker the deal, in which wealthy foreign investors would lend the turnpike $200 million in exchange for possible permanent residence in the United States.

DePasquale said his office was legally bound to wait until a transaction is completed before launching an audit, so “it may be several months or longer” before he formally investigates the turnpike plan.

“I am going to follow this situation carefully,” DePasquale said.  “It raises some alarms.  I’m not taking a position that it’s wrong yet. . . . We’ll wait till the issue is ripe for an audit.”

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/transportation/20130511_Financing_for_turnpike_I-95_connector_concerns_auditor_general.html#KbbfJ65OCH8owKzj.99

Road Repairs Could Take At Least Two Months After Tanker Fire On Interstate 81

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Dauphin County

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

Damage from a fuel tanker explosion near the interchange of Interstate 81 and Route 22/322 will cost tens of millions and shut down a small section of road for two months or more, state officials said Thursday afternoon.

Earlier Thursday morning, a fuel tanker exploded and rolled over on the highway, causing what Gov. Tom Corbett believes is the worst damage to a Pennsylvania highway since a tire fire off I-95 near Philadelphia in 1996.

Both directions of I-81 from Route 581 in Cumberland County to I-81/83 split in Dauphin County are closed.  Officials said they expect it to reopen in time for the Monday morning commute.

The ramp from northbound I-81 to westbound Route 22/322 remains closed.  Eastbound Route 22 through the interchange toward the City of Harrisburg remains closed.

Read more and see pictures:   http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2013/05/harrisburg_bridges_shut_throug.html#incart_m-rpt-1

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Intl. Airport Clears Way For $50M I-81 Project

The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport board on Thursday cleared the way for development of a multimillion-dollar access road project.

The board, including the commissioners of Lackawanna and Luzerne counties, formally released 16.5 acres of land for the state Department of Transportation to build an access road that will extend from Interstate 81 through the airport property, overpass the Pennsylvania Turnpike and connect to the Grimes Industrial Park in Pittston Township.

“This is a big deal,” Lackawanna County Commissioner Corey O’Brien said.  “It opens up the west end of the airport for future economic development projects.

Thirteen acres of the land will be used for the access road and the remaining 3.5 acres will be used for reconstruction of the of the airport exit along Interstate 81 in Dupont.  The project will combine the Avoca and airport exits into one and move traffic through a series of roundabouts.

Read more:  http://standardspeaker.com/news/airport-clears-way-for-50m-i-81-project-1.1476011

New Pennsylvania Turnpike Head Says He’s Ready To Face Down Corruption

Pennsylvania Turnpike/Interstate 95 Interchang...

Pennsylvania Turnpike/Interstate 95 Interchange Project (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

HARRISBURG – The new chief executive of the troubled Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission says he’s glad a scathing grand jury report is finally out, despite its damning allegations of political corruption and influence-peddling within the agency.

“We all knew it was coming, so there is limited relief that it’s here,” Mark P. Compton said in his office overlooking the toll road, outside Harrisburg.  “Now we can deal with it.”

Supplied with the 85-page report, state Attorney General Kathleen Kane earlier this month filed criminal charges against eight men, including former State Sen. Robert Mellow (D., Lackawanna) and one of Compton’s predecessors, former Turnpike chief executive Joseph Brimmeier.

The grand jury said top turnpike officials solicited contractors for campaign contributions to favored politicians, including then-Gov. Ed Rendell, and took gifts of international travel, sports events, and lavish meals.  In return, the contributors’ companies received multimillion-dollar contracts, even when other bidders were less expensive and more qualified, the report said.

Read more:

http://www.philly.com/philly/news/politics/state/20130401_New_Pa__Turnpike_head_says_he_s_ready_to_face_down_corruption.html

Building Boom Resumes In Towamencin Township

Location of Towamencin Township in Montgomery ...

Location of Towamencin Township in Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From the curved pedestrian bridge Towamencin Township built over the crossroads village of Kulpsville, you can see the next suburban boomtown rising.

It’s taken long enough, says Robert Nicoletti, 82, who bought ground there in 1958.

From the bridge, against a backdrop of the behind-schedule Pennsylvania Turnpike widening at the nearby Lansdale exit, you can watch crews build the four-story Bridgeview apartment complex, which will start renting next month; the thick concrete core of a six-story Courtyard by Marriott hotel, due in the fall;, and the Culinary Arts Institute of Montgomery County Community College, which will enroll its first students in the spring.  Farther north stands ball-bearing maker SKF Corp.’s U.S. headquarters, certified “platinum” by the U.S. Green Building Council.

The apartments, hotel, cooking school, and corporate headquarters all are the work of Nicoletti’s Philadelphia Suburban Development Corp., better known in the city as a major landlord of parole and welfare offices and other state agencies, as well as a South Philly site proposed by Penn National Corp. for a casino.

Read more: http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20130311_Building_boom_resumes_in_Towamencin.html#ixzz2NF5kBdso
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Free Wi-Fi Now Available At All Pennsylvania Turnpike Service Plazas

Pennsylvania Turnpike/Interstate 95 Interchang...

Pennsylvania Turnpike/Interstate 95 Interchange Project (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Free Wi-Fi service is now available at all Pennsylvania Turnpike operational service plazas, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission announced Friday in a news release.

Customers can access free Wi-Fi at the 15 operating service plazas.  Wi-Fi will be available at the two plazas closed for construction, South Midway in Bedford County and Highspire in Dauphin County, when they reopen in May, according to the release.

Read more:  http://www.ydr.com/local/ci_22619793/free-wi-fi-now-available-at-all-pennsylvania

Tolls Climbing, Traffic Declining As Pa. Turnpike Officials Chase Revenue

Pennsylvania Turnpike Ticket from the Warrenda...

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

Editor’s note:  They’re pricing themselves out of business!

HARRISBURG — If you tax something, you get less of it.

It’s one of the basic lessons of economics, and the same principle can be applied to tolls, as the Pennsylvania Turnpike is finding out.

Motorists using the turnpike will face their fifth toll increase in as many years when rates climbed by 10 percent for cash-paying customers (2 percent for those using EZ-Pass) on Sunday.

A recent investigation by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review examined how those increases have affected truck traffic on the highway — suggesting that the higher tolls have caused trucks to divert onto local roads in western Pennsylvania instead of using the turnpike:

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130107/NEWS01/130109756/tolls-climbing-traffic-declining-as-pa-turnpike-officials-chase-revenue#full_story

Rain Falling Harder In Lancaster County; First Power Outage Reported

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

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

Roads are empty.

Schools are dark.

The mall is closed.

Emergency workers are at their posts.

Skies darkened and rain began falling hard as the county hunkered down, waiting for Hurricane Sandy to howl through here with its full power later today.

“Get out now,” said Mayor Rick Gray,  urging residents to evacuate in flood-prone areas of the city.  “If it doesn’t flood, thank God.  If it does flood, you’re safe.  We don’t want to be in a position to put our police officers and our firefighters in harm’s way because you didn’t evacuate.”

The first significant power outage hit late this morning, when about 600 people lost their electricity in the Elizabeth Township area, after power lines were reported down along Route 322 there.

But for most of the county, the morning was the calm before the Frankenstorm as local residents, who had days to buy flashlight batteries, stock up on water and clean out their gutters, waited for the storm.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/766797_UPDATED–Rain-falling-harder-in-county–first-power-outage-reported–.html#ixzz2AhhYq6Ia

Pennsylvania Turnpike Is Billions Of Dollars In Debt

Map of the Pennsylvania Turnpike

Map of the Pennsylvania Turnpike (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  Stop the madness!

PHILADELPHIA – The Pennsylvania Turnpike may be on the road to the poorhouse.

Required by a 2007 state law to provide billions of dollars for statewide road and bridge repairs and transit operations, the turnpike is spending more money each year than it makes, despite toll increases that have doubled the cost to travel the turnpike over the last 10 years.

To meet the financial demands created by the law, Act 44, turnpike officials have borrowed aggressively, leaving the agency deeper in debt each year.

The Turnpike Commission is now more than $7 billion in debt, up from $2 billion in 2002 and $4 billion in 2009. The burden continues to grow, with the turnpike required to make payments until 2057.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=411605

Hail Of Bullets Ended Turnpike Chase

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Chester County

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

A Chester County man who stole a pickup truck and a tractor-trailer during a high-speed pursuit on the Pennsylvania Turnpike faces numerous charges, troopers said Friday.

Matthew Malory, 28, of Downingtown led police on a wild chase from Lancaster Countyto Chester County, police said.  On two occasions, troopers fired shots at the rig to stop its progress.

The pursuit occurred partly during a thunderstorm and led to a six-hour traffic tie-up on the turnpike.

Police said Malory is being treated at Paoli Hospital for broken ribs suffered when he crashed the pickup near Morgantown.  He later used the stolen rig to ram other vehicles out of the way before crashing in Chester County.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=408022

Pa. Turnpike Approves Toll Hike

 

Pennsylvania Turnpike/Interstate 95 Interchang...

Pennsylvania Turnpike/Interstate 95 Interchange Project (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

HARRISBURG, PA – The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission has approved a toll hike for next year.

The commission says the increase means rates will be going up 10 percent for cash-paying customers and 2-percent for those who pay with E-ZPass. The agency says the hike will result in a toll-revenue growth of 3 percent.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=401999