As a member of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission Design Roundtable, I received the following official press release concerning approval to construct the Turnpike’s Rt. 29 slip ramp. I know I posted Paul Drucker’s press release yesterday, however there is additional information contained in the PTC release that I found of interest, including the timeline for construction.
Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission Approves Construction of Route 29 All-Electronic Interchange
Construction of the E-ZPass-only facility to start in March 2011 with opening expected in late 2012.
The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission announced today that it is moving ahead with the construction of an all-electronic interchange linking Route 29 with I-76 in Chester County. Located midway between the Downingtown exit (#312) and the Valley Forge exit (#326), the new facility will provide convenient access to and from such business parks as the Great Valley Corporate Center, the Commons at Great Valley, Atwater and business districts in Malvern and Paoli.
“The decision to move ahead to construction is a significant step that will enhance safety and convenience for thousands of Turnpike customers in the region traveling to and from work each day,” said Turnpike Chief Executive Officer Joe Brimmeier. “In addition, the interchange will cut travel times for thousands of other regional commuters and help relieve overcrowding on local roads.”
Each day about 45,000 to 50,000 vehicles travel the 14-mile stretch of Turnpike between Downingtown and Valley Forge.
The announcement was made at an event held this morning hosted by Senator Andrew Dinniman (D-19). He was joined by Pennsylvania Turnpike officials and other business and elected officials.
“The Route 29 interchange is crucial to the continued economic vitality of our region,” Senator Dinniman said. “We are pleased that the Turnpike Commission has agreed to advance the project to construction and appreciate their commitment to move expeditiously to achieve the 2012 completion date.”
State Representative Duane Milne (R-167) also stated his support for the project. “I am delighted that a positive resolution has been reached and that this vital infrastructure enhancement will be completed in the near future. This transportation upgrade will prove a positive step for the quality of life in our area.”
State Representative Paul Drucker (D-157) added, “I am pleased the Route 29 interchange project is finally moving forward. It will ease congestion on local roads, reduce travel time for thousands of commuters and create jobs.”
Brimmeier said the interchange will reduce backups at the Valley Forge Interchange (#326), at the I-76/Route 202 interchange and on Route 202 itself, and will 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.
Turnpike officials expect construction of the E-ZPass-only interchange will start in March 2011 with a late fall 2012 opening. The estimated $60 million project calls for bridges to be built over the Turnpike, over Yellow Springs Road, over Atwater Drive as well as construction of a culvert and several retaining walls. The construction area will cover one-half mile along the Turnpike in three separate Chester County municipalities: Charlestown Township, East Whiteland Township and Tredyffrin Township.
In March 2009, the Turnpike shelved plans to build the interchange while it worked to resolve design issues with the widening and reconstruction of the adjoining six-mile Turnpike section to the east of Route 29, between Mileposts 320 and 326. Over the past 16 months, the Commission has worked closely with township officials, residents, interest groups and elected officials to address concerns they raised about the widening project – most notably storm-water management and noise walls.
“We believe sufficient progress has been made to enable us to proceed with the design of the Milepost 320 to 326 reconstruction and widening project and the construction of the Route 29 interchange,” said Brimmeier.