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                         June 16, 1998

Voice actualities relative to this news release
are available from the Turnpike’s Information
Broadcast Service by calling 1-800-563-5425.


HARRISBURG, PA—The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission today awarded a contract to the Lane Construction Corporation of Meriden, CT in the amount of $23,977,504.71 to completely reconstruct a five mile section of the original Turnpike east of the Donegal Interchange in Westmoreland County.

The project is the first in a series of projects which will ultimately result in the total reconstruction of the original Pennsylvania Turnpike which opened in 1940 between Carlisle and Irwin, PA. Over the years, the original Turnpike has been repaired, resurfaced, upgraded, and portions have been by-passed, but this will be the first total reconstruction of the original alignment ever undertaken. Current plans call for 160 miles of highway to be totally reconstructed over the next 16 years.

The nearly $24 million winning bid submitted by Lane Construction was well under the Turnpike’s initial cost estimate of $27 million for the project. The total rebuild will begin at milepost 94.00 and extend to milepost 99.23 near the Westmoreland/Somerset border. Work will get underway this fall with the widening of an overhead bridge to accommodate traffic control during the roadway construction phase of the project. Actual work on the roadway will begin next spring and is slated for completion in the fall of 2000.

The project will involve the complete removal of the existing roadway which will then be reconstructed from the ground up including new grading and drainage, new pavement, new guide rail and a new median barrier.

A major improvement to the reconstructed Turnpike will be a wider median barrier. The existing highway utilizes a ten-foot wide median. Where space permits the reconstructed Turnpike will employ an 18-foot median. A newly-designed concrete barrier will occupy the middle of the median area. There will be eight-foot wide shoulders between the barrier and the left lane on each side of the barrier.

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 project area involves no mainline bridges and just the one overhead bridge. Two westbound and three eastbound lanes will be rebuilt.

"The fact the original Turnpike has lasted so long is a monument to the engineers who designed the facility, the men who built it, and the crews who have maintained it for over five and a half decades," said Turnpike Executive Director John T. Durbin. "But, with the Turnpike carrying traffic not even imagined in 1940, the time has come to begin the process of rebuilding the roadway."


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