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Contact: Lowman S. Henry (717) 939-9551 Ext. # 2934
September 19, 1996
TURNPIKE RECONSTRUCTION GETS UNDERWAY WITH PILOT PROJECT
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,
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