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. 2840
               Joe Agnello, 724-755-5262

September 3,1999



State-of-the-art traffic monitoring system in place to manage one-lane-each-direction traffic pattern between Mileposts 191.2 and 197.5 set to begin Wednesday Sept. 8

The Pennsylvania Turnpike is advising motorists that beginning Wednesday, September 8, a rebuild of ten miles of the original highway located in Franklin County will require a one-lane-each-direction pattern. The first section of the 10-mile segment scheduled for total reconstruction is Mileposts 191.2 to 197.5 where crossovers will be used to channel westbound traffic into the eastbound lanes.

While the eastern terminus of the reconstruction zone is just west of Kittatinny Tunnel, the single-lane traffic pattern will extend east through the Kittatinny and Blue Mountain tubes. The western portal of Kittatinny is at Milepost 197.5. The eastern portal of Blue Mountain Tunnel is at Milepost 199.3.

All Turnpike traffic will use the eastbound lanes under a one-lane-each-direction pattern that will remain in effect for about 10 weeks while work is performed on the vacant westbound lanes. Implementation of the crossovers is to begin at daybreak Wednesday, Sept. 8 and the new traffic pattern is expected to be in place by early evening Friday, Sept. 10.

To better manage and monitor traffic speeds and flows during the major construction project, the Turnpike will use a state-of-the-art automated traffic speed flow monitoring and warning system that will alert customers about traffic conditions. Turnpike officials explained that until the crossovers are removed and traffic is returned to a normal pattern shortly before Thanksgiving, staff at the Turnpike's Operations Center will monitor the movement of vehicles through the single-lane pattern and provide real-time traffic information to drivers approaching from either direction.

This information will be relayed to motorists via four Highway Advisory Radio (HAR) stations broadcasting at 530AM and 12 variable message signs. In large part, information on the message signs will reflect data relayed from six strategically placed speed monitoring devices. Messages will vary based on certain threshold readings of the average speed of vehicles traveling the Turnpike on that section.

The signs will read as follows: When vehicles are traveling an average speed of 40 miles per hour or above - "Roadwork Ahead: Delays Possible"; at speeds of 39 to 25 miles per hour – Roadwork Ahead: Slow Traffic Ahead"; and at 24 miles per hour or slower - "Roadwork Ahead: Traffic Stopped".

Messages about accidents will be based on the same average travel speed thresholds, stating "Accident Ahead: Use Caution" at 40 MPH or over, "Accident Ahead: Slow Down Now" at 39-25 MPH, and "Accident Ahead: Stopped Traffic" at 24 MPH or slower.

Four land traffic patterns will resume before Thanksgiving until March 2000 when eastbound traffic will be restricted to one lane until mid-May. The rebuild of the second section, Mileposts 187 to 191.5 which includes the Tuscarora Tunnel, will begin in the fall of 2000 and will continue until summer 2001 when Turnpike traffic will once again be restricted during two 10-week periods.

Traffic Safety Solutions, Inc. (ST) of Mechanicsburg, is providing the speed flow monitoring equipment for the Turnpike rebuild in Franklin County as a subcontractor to The Lane Construction Corporation of Meriden, CT.

Lane Construction's general contract to reconstruct the Turnpike from Milepost 187 to Milepost 197 totals $47 million. The Franklin County project is one of three stretches of the original 160-mile Pennsylvania Turnpike under total reconstruction. The others are between Milepost 94 and Milepost 99 and between Milepost 76 and Milepost 85 in Westmoreland County .

The original Pennsylvania Turnpike opened in October 1940 and extended from Carlisle west to Irwin. All 160 miles will be totally rebuilt over the next 10 years.  


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