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: Kathy Liebler 717-939-9551 Ext. 2850                                  October 7, 1996


        The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission announced it will spend $3.75 million as a first step toward implementation of an Advanced Traveler Information system including the design, installation and use of Highway Advisory Radio (HAR) and Variable Message Signs (VMS) across the 506 mile long Turnpike.
        "Providing travelers in advance with information about highway conditions is an important and necessary component of our customer service program," said Executive Director John Durbin. "We know that Turnpike motorists traveling both long and short distances, value and appreciate information about construction, traffic and weather that is provided quickly and efficiently. We intend to respond to those needs."
        Durbin said that the Commission's objective includes construction and implementation of 15 Highway Advisory Radio sites, seven variable message sign sites, two closed circuit television locations and a travelers information control system.
        "This is an ambitious program that will build on the Turnpike's valued tradition of providing service and safety to our customers," Durbin said. "It is also the first of many critical steps that the Commission must take to ready our roadway for the future and for more comprehensive Intelligent Transportation Systems."(ITS)
        Durbin explained that the Commission established its goal and objectives for a Turnpike Intelligent Transportation System based on a recently completed strategic deployment plan prepared by engineering firm Frederic R. Harris Inc.
        Durbin said that $3 million dollars in newly attained federal funding from the Federal Highway Administration, plus $750,000 in Commission matching funds, will be used to pay for the projects. The time frame for design and construction includes the awarding of construction contracts within a year and having the system operational by October 1998.
        "I want to thank several members of Pennsylvania's Congressional delegation for their bi-partisan support in securing the ITS grant," Durbin said. "Senators Arlen Spector and Rick Santorum were outstanding in their support of this effort. Congressmen Tom Foglietta, John Fox, John Murtha and Joe McDade were also instrumental in securing the funding in the House of Representatives. I thank them all and look forward to their continued support as the Turnpike moves toward the implementation of more advanced information and communication systems."
        Although HAR and VMS systems are planned for locations across the entire Turnpike system, the Commission will place immediate focus on the Philadelphia area and the Schuylkill River Bridge where a $40 million bridge widening and rehabilitation project is scheduled to begin next summer.
        Construction for five Highway Advisory Radio sites will begin next spring at the Downingtown, Valley Forge, Mid County, Willow Grove and Lansdale interchanges. Variable Message Signs will be installed on the East-West Mainline in advance of the Valley Forge and Mid County interchanges and on the Northeastern Extension in advance of the junction with the mainline. These systems will be operational prior to the beginning of construction work on the Schuylkill River Bridge which is anticipated to begin in June or July.


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