“Gap Bottleneck Project” Starting New Phase, With New Traffic Pattern, This Week

Work on the “Gap Bottleneck Project” is beginning to pick up, with a new traffic pattern established this week in the project area in eastern Lancaster County.

The new work is another step in the overall $9.9 million project that’s set for completion in October 2016.

For now, the new pattern is in place during overnight hours in the area of the Route 30/Route 41 project, the state Transportation Department announced.

A concrete barrier is being installed along the north side of Route 30 just east of the intersection with 41.

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Montco Commissioners Kick Off Second Phase Of Lafayette Street Extension Project

NORRISTOWN, PA – The first phase has been completed, and now the second phase of a road project that will eventually connect Norristown to the Pennsylvania Turnpike will begin.

Despite the cold on Wednesday, the Montgomery County commissioners broke ground on the $12.9 million second phase of the project, which will extend Lafayette Street to Diamond Avenue in Plymouth Township. The second phase will also reconstruct and widen Diamond Avenue from the Pennsylvania Turnpike bridge to the Norristown border at Ross Street.

“Many of us were here together months ago when we kicked off phase one of the Lafayette Street extension project. Today we’re here to talk about ramping up phase two of the Lafayette Street extension project,” commissioners’ Chairman Josh Shapiro told a crowd of county employees and local officials involved in the project.

Shapiro told the group that they will begin to see traffic slow down as the second phase makes its way through its expected completion date of spring 2017, but he added there will not be detours on Ridge Pike in Plymouth Township.

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Restoring Aging Lancaster County-Owned Bridges Tied To Natural Gas Impact Fee

On sparsely traveled back roads across Lancaster County, more than two dozen narrow, unassuming bridges built in a simpler era are showing their age.

Concrete is weathered and cracking. The decks are no longer safe for even moderate loads.

The Lancaster County commissioners are addressing the problem by turning to impact fee revenue from natural gas drillers. As of February, the county had $2.2 million available, said county engineer Scott Russell of Rettew Associates.

The commissioners are counting on continuing impact fee revenue to help fund the replacement or repair of nearly all 44 county-owned concrete or steel bridges over the next five years.

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PennDOT Expects $272 Million In District Road Work This Year

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation will start or continue several major projects on local roads and bridges this year as it spends an estimated $272 million to give drivers a smoother, safer ride.

There will be plenty of inconvenience on the way in District 11, which includes Allegheny Beaver and Lawrence counties. PennDOT officials at a briefing this morning stressed the importance of safe driving, including adhering to work zone speed limits.

Specific announcements of road and bridge closures or restrictions will come as the events draw nearer, officials said.

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PennDOT To Resurface Another 110-Plus Miles Of NEPA Roads

The McDade Expressway in Scranton, Route 924 in Hazleton and a long stretch of Route 29 in Susquehanna and Wyoming counties are among area roads the state Department of Transportation has targeted for repaving this year.

The three heavily traveled routes are among 28 stretches of road in six Northeast Pennsylvania counties that PennDOT officials plan for routine resurfacing work this year. They’ll pay for it with new transportation funding from higher fees and gradually increasing gas taxes.

“PennDOT will be resurfacing about 110 miles of road this year,” agency spokesman James May said. “If we didn’t have Act 89, the number would be zero.”

Act 89 is the $2.3 billion transportation funding package the state Legislature approved in late 2013. PennDOT did have work on several larger capital pro­jects planned regardless, like the ongoing Keyser Avenue project in Scranton.

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Study Ranks York Area High As Location For Distribution Centers

A new report gives the York area high marks as a place for locating a distribution center.

Access to a rail line and the Port of Baltimore and comparatively low labor costs make the area one of the best places in the U.S. for siting a distribution center, according to a report from The Boyd Company, a Princeton, N.J.-based firm that advises companies on where they should locate.

The study comes after Target Corp. selected West Manchester Township earlier this month as the site for a massive facility to fill orders for its online customers. And auto parts maker Federal-Mogul is locating a distribution center in a new 708,000 square-foot building Chicago development firm First Industrial Realty Trust built in Manchester Township near Exit 24 on Interstate 83..

York does well when it comes to attracting such facilities “and we see that trend continuing,” John Boyd Jr., principal at The Boyd Company, said in a telephone interview.

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Pennsylvania Turnpike Considers Plans To Replace Allegheny Tunnels In Somerset County

The Pennsylvania Turnpike has revived plans to replace the Allegheny Tunnels in Somerset County, a project that has been talked about for nearly two decades.

The turnpike commission is considering six options for abandoning the 6,070-foot-long tunnels, longest on the turnpike mainline. Three would involve building new tunnels and three would carve an open highway through the mountain either to the north or south of the existing tunnels.

Preliminary cost estimates for the “cut” options range from $242 million to $345 million, while estimates for the tunnel options range from $537 million to $694 million, according to turnpike consultant L.R. Kimball. Annual maintenance costs for a tunnel would exceed $3 million, several times what an open highway segment would cost.

Turnpike spokesman Carl DeFebo said the cost differential was just one of several factors the commission will consider in choosing a preferred option, possibly in the spring.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/news/transportation/2014/12/24/Pennsylvania-Turnpike-considers-plans-to-replace-tunnels-in-Somerset-County/stories/201412230034

Winter Storm Puts Northeast Pa. In Crosshairs

There will be snow and rain and everything in between.

The big unknown is how much of each.

Northeast Pennsylvania is under a winter storm warning through Thursday morning as a system developing along the mid-Atlantic coast pushes inland today with the potential for significant snow, sleet and freezing rain.

The National Weather Service said total snow accumulations could hit eight to 12 inches, with the higher amounts in the higher terrain and less in the valleys.

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/winter-storm-puts-northeast-pa-in-crosshairs-1.1799879

Evaporating Cap On Pa. Gasoline Taxes To Offset Drops At Pump

Map of Pennsylvania, showing major cities and ...

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

If gasoline prices continue to hover where they are, Ron Stover might get rid of his Dodge Durango.

These days, the dark silver sport utility vehicle with its V8 engine costs $85 to fill.

“I haven’t filled it up in I don’t know how long,” said Stover, 39, of the North Side.

Pennsylvania drivers pay less for a gallon of gas than they did a year ago, but planned changes to a state tax could increase the cost down the road, even as experts predict prices nationwide might continue to drop.

Read more: http://triblive.com/state/pennsylvania/6977771-74/tax-taxes-gallon#ixzz3HpbJFanD
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Commissioners Award Second Contract In Norristown’s Lafayette Street Project

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

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

NORRISTOWN, PA – A little more than a year after construction crews broke ground on the first phase of the Lafayette Street extension project, the Montgomery County commissioners awarded a contract for the second phase of the project on Wednesday.

The $12.8 million dollar contract was awarded to J.D. Eckman, Inc. of Atglen, Pa. J.D. Eckman, Inc. is not the same company that worked on the first phase of the project. Construction on the second phase of the multi-million dollar project is slated to begin in the first quarter of 2015.

“It’s very typical for a transportation project of this size to be phased,” commissioners’ vice-Chairwoman Leslie Richards said. “It’s just easier. You don’t want to give the construction management of the entire project to one firm. It’s just kind of checks and balances.”

Read more: http://www.timesherald.com/general-news/20141023/commissioners-award-second-contract-in-norristowns-lafayette-street-project

NEPA Gets Extra $500M For Projects

Counties constituting Northeastern Pennsylvania

Counties constituting Northeastern Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Northeastern Pennsylvania will get nearly $500 million more than expected for transportation projects over the next 12 years.

In 2012, area planners expected to spend $1.56 billion on transportation infrastructure in Lackawanna, Luzerne, Wyoming, Wayne, Pike and Susquehanna counties from 2013 through 2025, state Department of Transportation spokesman Michael Taluto said.

Gov. Tom Corbett signed the new transportation funding package in November, and transportation planners in the six counties recently allocated $2.03 billion to largely fix up the area’s roads and bridges from 2015 through 2027.

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/nepa-gets-extra-500m-for-projects-1.1757716

Armand Hammer Ramp Closure Starts Tomorrow

Location of Lower Pottsgrove Township in Montg...

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

LOWER POTTSGROVE TOWNSHIP, PA — You may have toasted the unofficial end of summer Monday with a Labor Day picnic, but now its back to work and we remind you that starting tomorrow, commuting on Route 422 will be no picnic.

That’s particularly true if you’re used to using the eastbound on- and off-ramps at the Armand Hammer Boulevard interchange.

In addition to replacing the bridge over the Route 422 Schuylkill River, PennDOT contractors are also re-working this interchange into a classic four-ramp configuration.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140902/armand-hammer-ramp-closure-starts-tomorrow

New Route 345 Bridges Open In Birdsboro

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

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

BIRDSBORO, PA — Two new bridges carrying Route 345 over the Schuylkill River and the Norfolk Southern railroad are now open to traffic.

According to a press release from Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s District 5, traffic was directed over the two new bridges for the first time on Thursday. There is no weight restriction on the new bridges, which daily carry 6,189 vehicles, PennDOT said.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140815/new-route-345-bridges-open-in-birdsboro

Pottstown’s North Hanover Street Opens To Traffic

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

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

POTTSTOWN, PA – After four months of detours, North Hanover Street is open to traffic.

Workers removed barricades, and the road was opened Friday afternoon after the completion of a complicated sewer project.

Public Works Director Doug Yerger said the project, which was supposed to be completed in late June, went over-budget and beyond its schedule because of weather and “unforeseen conditions” underground.

Specifically, the project replaced a sewer main which had to be buried beneath an underground stream which runs beneath that section of Hanover Street between Jefferson Avenue and Fourth Street.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140811/pottstowns-north-hanover-street-opens-to-traffic

I-495 Southbound Reopens In Delaware

Weeks ahead of schedule, Delaware officials Thursday afternoon reopened the southbound lanes of the I-495 bridge that spans the Christina River in Wilmington.

The bridge’s concrete piers had started to lean sideways after a construction company stored 50,000 tons of dirt at its feet, compressing the soft, underlying soil.

Contractors have been working night and day to fix the problem since early June, first removing the dirt, then drilling 150-foot shafts to accommodate new underground concrete supports, and finally erecting steel towers so the bridge could be jacked back into a level position.

The northbound lanes are expected to reopen within two to four weeks after additional repairs are made, said Geoff Sundstrom, a spokesman for the Delaware Department of Transportation.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/transportation/20140801_I-495_southbound_reopens_in_Delaware_.html#RVyzrRJA6kuxf6r3.99

Montgomery County Commissioners Happy With Progress Of Norristown’s Lafayette Street Extension

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

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

NORRISTOWN, PA — The Montgomery County commissioners took a tour Thursday to see the progress of what county officials are calling “the largest local infrastructure project in Pennsylvania” and found they were pleased with it.

Leading the tour was Leo Bagely, a transportation planner at the Montgomery County Planning Commission, who has helped to oversee the first phase of the construction project.

“We’ve been at this for a long time,” said Bagely. “What this is going to look like, with the landscaping we’re doing, is we’re going to change the look of how people come out of Norristown.”

Read more: http://www.timesherald.com/general-news/20140731/montgomery-county-commissioners-happy-with-progress-of-norristowns-lafayette-street-extension

Armand Hammer Boulevard Bridge Over Route 422 Opens, More Work Coming

Location of Lower Pottsgrove Township in Montg...

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

LOWER POTTSGROVE TOWNSHIP, PA— Long-suffering Route 422 drivers may take heart in knowing that one phase of the work at the Armand Hammer Boulevard interchange is completed with the opening today of the bridge over Route 422, providing improved access into the former Firestone complex.

But more work is on the way, including the closure of the on-ramps and off-ramps on the eastbound portion of the highway.

As anyone who drives the highway regularly knows, for the past 16 months, PennDOT contractors have been working to replace the Route 422 bridge over the Schuylkill River between Lower Pottsgrove and North Coventry.

At the same time, they have been working on reconfiguring the Route 422 interchange with Armand Hammer Boulevard, located on the east side of the bridge replacement project.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140731/armand-hammer-blvd-bridge-over-rt-422-opens-more-work-coming

$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