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     

January 19, 1999

Single lane traffic patterns may cause travel delays, caution urged

Harrisburg, PA – Due to extreme weather conditions during January involving significant precipitation and numerous freeze-thaw cycles (variations in temperature above and below freezing), extensive damage was caused to three sections of the Pennsylvania Turnpike in western Pennsylvania.

Initial repairs to the roadway, including the patching and sealing of failed pavement sections, will result in various lane closings and lowered speed limits in these areas.

"We are advising motorists that there will be delays when traveling through the affected areas," said Turnpike Executive Director John T. Durbin. "Drivers must use extra caution and be alert for stopped traffic and changing traffic patterns while repair work is being performed."

The affected sections of the Pennsylvania Turnpike include:

***** Milepost 88 to 78.9 westbound between the Donegal and New Stanton interchanges in Westmoreland County. There is currently a single lane traffic pattern to permit patching in the right lane. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday the pattern will remain in place as patching continues in both the left and right westbound lanes. As a caution to motorists, the Turnpike has placed a variable message sign at milepost 88.8 westbound advising of upcoming rough roadway and urging travelers to use caution.

***** Repair work is being performed on a bridge located at milepost 76 eastbound near the New Stanton Interchange in Westmoreland County. Contractors are required to use concrete to complete repairs, resulting in right lane closure for an additional period of time to allow the concrete patch to set. A single lane traffic pattern will be in effect until Thursday, at the earliest.

***** Significant patching operations have been and will continue to take place between mileposts 35 and 45.6 eastbound and westbound between the Butler and Allegheny Valley interchanges in Allegheny County today. Single lane traffic patterns will occur in various areas in both the eastbound and westbound lanes over the next few days. Turnpike maintenance crews will be performing temporary patching operations to improve the roadway while a contractor is hired to permanently repair the lanes. Variable message signs warning motorists of changing traffic patterns and reduced speed limits will be in operation.

Turnpike officials are advising motorists traveling in western Pennsylvania between the areas of the Butler and Allegheny Valley interchanges and the New Stanton and Donegal interchanges to be alert, anticipate single lane traffic patterns, and to reduce their speed to under 45 miles per hour when driving through construction zones.

"We are using all available resources to repair the road damage, particularly the large sections of overlay (asphalt) which have broken loose," Durbin said. "Although we adhere to an aggressive road repaving program (last year 79 miles of pavement were resurfaced), the extreme weather conditions have caused significant damage to the Turnpike. I want to assure our customers that we are determined to make the repairs as quickly as possible with a minimal amount of inconvenience.


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