PA Turnpike Commission Approves Construction of Rt 29 Slip Ramp!

The PA Turnpike Commission approved construction of the Route 29 slip ramp.  I received the following press release from State House Rep Paul Drucker’s Office today:
 
Construction of Route 29 all electronic interchange approved

Today, I joined officials from the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission at Atwater Business Park to announce approval of the construction of the all electronic interchange linking Route 29 with I-76 in Chester County.

This project will not only ease congestion on local roads and reduce travel time for thousands of commuters, but will create local jobs.

Located midway between the Downingtown exit (No. 312) and the Valley Forge exit (No. 326), the new facility will provide motorists with convenient access to and from such business parks as the Great Valley Corporate Center, the Commons at Great Valley, Atwater Business Park and business districts in Malvern and Paoli.

Turnpike officials said they anticipate the project to be bid in time to begin construction in March 2011, and plan to open the interchange to traffic in late fall of 2012. The project will include the building of bridges over the turnpike, over Yellow Springs Road, over Atwater Drive and the construction of a culvert and several retaining walls. The construction area will cover approximately one-half mile along the turnpike in three separate Chester County municipalities: Charlestown Township, East Whiteland Township and Tredyffrin Township.

The interchange is expected to reduce traffic congestion at the Valley Forge Interchange (No. 326), at the I-76/Route 202 interchange and on Route 202 itself, and contribute to an overall decrease in traffic on Route 29 in the vicinity of Swedesford Road and Matthews Road, and on Route 401 and Phoenixville Pike, west of Route 29.

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8 Comments

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  1. While I think this is good news because of the boost it could give to the corporate center and positive effect it could have on 202 traffic, I wonder how this affects two things…

    First, Rep. Drucker’s race. A large number of residents in western Tredyffrin opposed these ramps without sound barriers being included, and (as best I can tell) those barriers are not part of the project. Will they hold him accountable? Especially since he took some credit for them today with his blast email.

    Second, Supervisor DiBuonaventuro’s reputation. He has been an ardent opponent to the ramps without sound barriers and has, in fact, taken some credit for holding up the project fighting for them. How does this announcement affect him?

    Just some food for thought.

    [Reply]

    Kate Reply:

    From the West,

    Thanks for your partisan-fueled food for thought.

    I think you should be honest enough to let this blog’s readers know if / that you’re affiliated with the local Republican Party and/or associated with the campaign of Warren Kampf. A review of your comments strongly suggests this is the case. I have done the same on a number of occasions.

    FYI, Supervisor DiBuonaventuro and Representative Drucker have been tireless in their involvement and support, dealing directly with PTC officials on our behalf and fighting to protect the property and quality of life of homeowners along the TP. I’m not sure what more they could have done.

    And their voters KNOW it.

    Regarding western residents’ opposition to the Rte 29 slip ramp, that may have been true 10 years ago when the idea was first presented to the public. But the PTC has worked to refine their on-an-off ramp designs and improve the stormwater mitigation plan. Also residents’ initial concerns about an increase in local traffic were allayed by studies showing that more commuters would stop using back roads to avoid Rte 202 and instead get directly on the turnpike.

    Re your suggestion that DiBuonaventuro and Drucker have come up short on getting sound walls for the slip ramp area, you are simply uninformed. The PTC has committed to build sound walls along 96% of the TP in Tredyffrin including that entire area – – thanks in part to their efforts. It will be done as part of the road widening as It would make no sense to do so before a third lane and shoulder are constructed.

    Supervisor DiBuonaventuro has worked especially hard to get agreement on a 16 foot median, instead of the 26 foot median the PTC favors. At this point, it seems the PTC will prevail but with a stormwater plan that handles all the additional runoff and involves the taking of NO ADDITIONAL property.. They’ve also agreed to work with each homeowner to preserve as much tree and shrub buffer as possible.

    And it was Representative Drucker who took on the now discredited Tim Carson, former acting head of the PTC, regarding Carson’s bullying tactics and efforts to make building the slip ramp contingent on Tredyffrin’s cooperation on stormwater and property takings.

    Just some additional food for thought.

    [Reply]

  2. What does this have to do with local politics? How does it affect them?? I don’t really get it.

    This was driven by the Turnpike Commission, a state agency that is nothing short of a business.

    [Reply]

  3. I am curious about these all-electronic (slip-ramp) interchanges – does anyone have any statistical references on the number of people who use them illegally (without an EZ-Pass device) and the amount of lost revenue? Does PennDOT recover the money owed at some point?

    [Reply]

  4. Just a thought….. they have cameras and get a picture of your plate. I know because one time my EZPass didn’t register and I got a bill in the mail…They tell you to not stop but go through, I imagine for safety sake. But I believe the bill was around 25 bucks!

    [Reply]

  5. CJ —

    An old adage says, “all politics is local.”

    Yes, this is a Turnpike project but many local residents opposed this as did their local representatives. The approval of the slip ramps can have an effect on their situations. (Conversely, many local officials also supported the ramps, i.e. the County Commissioners)

    Another example: in Tredyffrin when the Turnpike Commission proposed the taking of local homes, the local gov’t has held up the turnpike’s permits and the supervisors opposed the expansion effort to prevent those takings and make sure other water issues are addressed.

    [Reply]

  6. flyersfan

    if ezpass doesnt work, you actually get a fine, as you point out. but if you contact them and convince them you had a valid ez pass, they charge you the toll and refund the fine.

    bpeterson

    [Reply]

  7. IN fact, photos are taken and you get a bill — this is even if you are using a rental car! It’s why EZ Pass requires tha tyou register license plates — so no revenue is lost when someone goes through illegally — because the fine for tracking you down can be rather extensive. SLip ramps are actually a way to pump up the percentage of EZ pass drivers. I am constantly amazed when I see the lines of cars paying tolls (Route 309 on the turnpike is a typical example). Toll taking is inefficient and does increase pollution as cars sit in lines and wait their turn. If everyone had EZ Pass it would be seamless and no reason to stop — which is the way the true EZ Pass lanes operate on newer highways in more modernized systems.

    SO — slip ramps require EZ Pass — if you want to use the slip ramp, you need to get it. That has the additional affect of reducing traffic on the local roads between where you start and the toll booth you go to (Rt. 29 will reduce local traffic to get to either 202 or Rt. 100 turnpike entrances). But the secondary benefit is that all those folks who will stay off local roads getting to “people” toll booths will now have EZ pass and save the cost of toll takers throughout the system going forward. Ultimately the only “toll lines” should be for the rare driver who does not use toll roads enough to warrant the effort. Think of EZ Pass as an ATM card on highways…..some folks will still go to the bank window to cash their personal check, but most get their cash electronically. .

    [Reply]

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