Kathy Liebler
                        Director of Public Information

    C   O   M   M   I   S   S   I   O   N                N   E   W   S             R   E   L   E   A   S   E

    Contact: Lowman S. Henry (717) 939-9551 Ext. # 2934                     September 19, 1996

Highway Built in 1940 Gets First Total Rebuild

        Harrisburg -- It's been almost 56 years since the Pennsylvania Turnpike opened for business. During that time, the original Turnpike has been repaired, resurfaced, upgraded and by- passed. Now, it will be rebuilt.
        Design work will begin next month on a pilot project to totally rebuild a five-mile section of the Turnpike between mileposts 94 and 99 just east of the Donegal Interchange in Westmoreland County. Actual construction is expected to get underway in March, 1998 with completion scheduled for October, 1999.
        The pilot project is the first step in a 16-year plan to completely reconstruct the original 160-mile section of the Pennsylvania Turnpike between the Carlisle and Irwin interchanges. The Pennsylvania Turnpike opened for business on October 1, 1940 as the first limited access superhighway in America.
        According to roadway design engineer Jerry Rollman, the existing roadway will be completely removed and reconstructed from the ground up including grading and drainage, new pavement, new guide rail and median barrier.
        A major improvement to the reconstructed Turnpike will be a wider median area. The existing highway utilizes a 10-foot wide median. The reconstructed Turnpike will employ an 18' median. A two-foot wide concrete barrier will occupy the middle of the median area. There will be eight feet shoulders between the barrier and the left lane line on each side of the barrier. "Basically a barrier is an obstruction," said Rollman. "Anytime you can move the obstruction further away from traffic the better."
        The reconstructed Turnpike will also include now-standard safety features such as the SNAP (Sonic Nap Alert Pattern) rumble strips along the right edge of the highway and recessed reflectors. Guide rail and signage will remain consistent with those currently utilized by the Turnpike.
        The section of the Turnpike to be rebuilt involves no mainline bridges and just one overhead bridge. The reconstruction will have no impact on the overhead bridge. Two westbound and three eastbound lanes will be rebuilt. Total estimated cost of the five- mile rebuilt segment will be approximately $22 million.
        In addition to the five mile segment of reconstruction, the Turnpike's engineering department is evaluating additional areas to be reconstructed. The Commission anticipates rebuilding approximately ten miles of the Turnpike each year. There will be minimal traffic problems as four lanes of roadway will remain open during the reconstruction.
        "The fact that the existing original Turnpike has lasted so long is a monument to the engineers who designed the facility, themen who built it, and the crews who have maintained it for over five and a half decades," said James F. Malone, III, Chairman of the Turnpike Commission. "But, with the Turnpike carrying traffic volumes not even imagined in 1940, the time has come to begin the process of replacing the roadway."


         P.O. Box 67676, Harrisburg, PA 17106-7676         Phone: (717) 939-9551         Fax: (717) 986-9649