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:   Christina M. Hampton, (610) 292-3785
                    e-mail: champton@paturpike.com

December 6, 1999


PHILADELPHIA, PA - - The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission will hold an open-house public meeting from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, December 9, 1999 to review and discuss the status of the feasibility study for the proposed widening of the mainline Turnpike from the Valley Forge Interchange (#24) to the Norristown Interchange (#25) in Montgomery County.

The open-house meeting will take place at the Turnpike Commission's Eastern Regional Office, 251 Flint Hill Road in King of Prussia. The purpose of the meeting is to present the results of the widening studies to date, including engineering plans and potential impacts to the environment, and to receive input from the public.

The study's objectives are to provide an additional travel lane both east and westbound on the mainline Turnpike between Valley Forge Interchange and Norristown Interchange, establish the best overall design and identify any environmental consequences of the design.

Rapid growth in the Philadelphia region, represented by many suburban office parks, retail centers and residential development has contributed to severe and growing congestion on the Pennsylvania Turnpike and surrounding highways. "To accommodate current and future traffic demands and provide a safer, more comfortable and convenient roadway for travelers and commuters in the Philadelphia area, the Turnpike plans to widen the highway in this area from four (4) to six (6) lanes," said Turnpike Executive Director John Durbin.

The feasibility study for widening the Turnpike covers 16 miles and includes two sections of the highway in Montgomery County: 5.8 miles of the mainline Turnpike from the Valley Forge Interchange (exit 24) to the Norristown Interchange (exit 25), not including the Schuylkill River Bridge, and 10.3 miles from Mid-County Interchange (#25A) to the Lansdale Interchange (#31) on the Northeastern Extension (I-476).

The feasibility study for the east/west portion of the Turnpike is scheduled for completion sometime in 2000.

Originally opened to motorists in 1953, this critical section of the highway bears one of the highest traffic volumes of any four-lane section of the Turnpike, carrying approximately 55,000 vehicles daily. Recent studies, forecast that traffic in this corridor will increase dramatically to approximately 75,000 vehicles daily by 2020.

To accommodate the future widening of the Turnpike in this corridor, the Turnpike began construction on the $35 million Schuylkill River Bridge/Diamond Run Viaduct in the spring of 1997. In June a new 1,224-foot six-span steel-girder Schuylkill River Bridge was completed. Currently, construction crews are working on the rehabilitation of the existing bridge. The project is scheduled to be completed in August 2000.

Large aerial photographs identifying key aspects of the project such as bridge replacements, noise sensitive areas, and noise monitoring locations will be displayed at the public meeting. A video, providing background information on what is involved in the noise study process, will be available for the public to view.

Representatives from the Turnpike Commission and their Design Consultants will be available for explanation and discussion of the project. The feasibility study for the widening of the Turnpike in Montgomery County is being conducted by a team of consulting firms, led by Urban Engineers, Inc. of Philadelphia, PA and includes STV Inc. Douglasville, PA and A. D. Marble & Company, Inc. of Rosemont, PA.


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