Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission Update . . . Design Suspension Ceases; Moving Ahead With 6-Lane Widening Project in Tredyffrin

I am on the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission Design Roundtable and had received an update a couple of days ago from PTC; today the official announcement was released in Harrisburg.  Interesting to note that the Route 29 slipramp is not moving ahead?  Wonder how Vanguard and other local companies are taking that news? I actually thought that Senator Dinniman had announced awhile back that Rt. 29 was moving ahead, not sure what caused the snag. Below is the press release:

HARRISBURG, PA (04/26/2010)– The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission announced today that it is moving ahead with the design of a total reconstruction and six-lane widening project in Tredyffrin and Upper Merion townships, Chester and Montgomery counties. Engineering development of the project – located just west of the Valley Forge Interchange (Exit #326) between Mileposts 320 and 326 – was suspended in March, 2009. 

Over the past 12 months, the Commission has been working with Tredyffrin Township, residents, special-interest groups and elected officials to address areas of concern the groups raised – primarily related to stormwater management features – which initially led to the year-long suspension.

In an effort to better understand and address concerns, the Commission organized a “Design Roundtable” in 2008 comprised of representatives of Tredyffrin Township, local homeowner associations, special-interest groups, elected officials and regulatory agencies. The Design Roundtable meets regularly with the Commission’s project team to discuss and provide input on the design. The Commission reconvened Design Roundtable meetings between October 2009 and March 2010 and simultaneously conducted Legislative Briefings to update elected officials regarding the Design Roundtable talks.

“We believe sufficient progress has been made to enable us to proceed cautiously, gradually reinstating design work on this vital project, including right-of-way acquisition for stormwater purposes,” said Frank Kempf, the Turnpike’s chief engineer. “All of us who’ve been part of these discussions certainly recognize the significant value of this project in enhancing the movement of people and goods in the region, so we’re pleased to be getting back to the drawing board.” 

The stretch of Turnpike between Valley Forge and Downingtown is the busiest four-lane section of the east-west mainline, used by more than 50,000 motorists daily. When the Turnpike suspended engineering of the Milepost 320-326 project, it also shelved plans to construct a $65 million “E-ZPass Only”

Interchange linking Route 29 with I-76 in Chester County because it would have boosted traffic on the unimproved, four-lane highway resulting in increased deterioration in the pavement, level of service and safety. That Route 29 project, however, is not advancing yet.

“There are noise issues that must be resolved on the Milepost 320-326 project before we can begin construction on the all-electronic Interchange at Route 29,” Kempf said. “But we remain optimistic that we’ll soon announce the restart of that project as well.”

The Milepost 320-326 project – with an estimated construction cost of $200 million – is tentatively scheduled to be built beginning in early 2013 with completion in late 2015. It is part of the Turnpike’s $2 billion total-reconstruction program begun in 1999 under which more than 70 miles of roadway have been reconstructed.

For more information or to sign up to receive E-Bulletins and Newsletters, visit the project web site, paturnpike.com/ConstructionProjects/mp320to326/.

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