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Christina Hampton
Desk (610) 292-3785

December 3, 2008

PA Turnpike Celebrates Completion of $330 Million Six-Lane Widening from Valley Forge to Norristown

Rebuilt seven-mile stretch of toll road provides faster commutes and smoother traffic flow across the Turnpike's most heavily traveled corridor.

PHILADELPHIA (Dec. 3, 2008) - Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission CEO Joe Brimmeier joined Turnpike Chief Engineer Frank Kempf at the Turnpike's Eastern Regional Office in King of Prussia to commemorate the completion of a $330 million expansion project in southeastern Pennsylvania.

On a ramp overlooking the seven mile, six-lane stretch of Turnpike, Brimmeier - along with local and state officials, contractors, designers and project staff - cut a ceremonial white ribbon to commemorate the opening of the new section of toll road.

"Back in 2004, I made a promise to customers that every penny from the toll increase that year would be spent on improving the highway," Brimmeier said. "We broke ground on this massive project just two months after the August 2004 toll increase, and today we celebrate the first tangible sign in southeastern Pennsylvania of a promise made four years ago."

The newly-widened section connects many of the region's critical arteries including I-76 (Schuylkill Expressway), I-476 (Blue Route and Northeastern Extension), US 202 and US 422.

"We now have some 25 miles of six-lane interstate between the Philadelphia Exit and Valley Forge, and we will begin to widen westward from Valley Forge as soon as 2011," Brimmeier said. "This is a great day for the Greater Philadelphia Region and for Montgomery County as the Commission continues to reinvest toll dollars in the most heavily traveled section of the Turnpike in the state's most densely populated region."

The project involved the total reconstruction and six-lane widening of a 7-mile section of toll road from the Valley Forge Interchange (#326) in Upper Merion Township to the Norristown Interchange (#333) in Plymouth Township, Montgomery County. It is the Turnpike's largest project to be completed in the region since the construction of the Mid-County Interchange (#20) in 1991.

The widening consisted of two sub-projects separated by the Schuylkill River Bridge. (In anticipation of this project, the Schuylkill River Bridge and 1.8 miles of adjoining roadway were widened to accommodate six lanes. That project was completed in May 2000 at a cost of $35.6 million).

Construction on the 2-mile section east of the Schuylkill River Bridge (milepost 330) to the Norristown Interchange (milepost 334) began in 2004 and was completed in December 2006 at a cost of $33.4 million. URS Inc. of Philadelphia was designer and Glasgow Construction, Glenside, Pa., was contractor for this section.

The project also involved the replacement of the Route 202 Bridge (DeKalb Pike) which carries local traffic over the Turnpike. Buckley and Company, which began construction in the summer of 2004, finished the bridge at a cost of $9.6 million in 2006. The Flint Hill Road Bridge was also replaced. Driscoll Construction Inc. completed the project at a cost of $5.2 million.

Another phase of this extensive project was the replacement of the 50-year old Norristown Interchange with a state-of-the-art toll plaza. The new plaza has 11 new tollbooths, new E-ZPass lanes, a new fare collection office and reconfigured lanes. Total cost for the interchange completed in December 2006 was $17.6 million.

In 2006, Alan A. Meyers, of Worcester, Pa. began construction on the 5.3-mile section of Turnpike west of the Flint Hill Road Bridge to the Valley Forge Interchange. Just as in the eastern portion of the project, the roadway underwent full-depth reconstruction, which entailed removal and replacement of the old roadway from the ground up. It was also widened to three lanes in each direction. This section also involved replacement of bridges, construction of retaining walls, construction of noise barriers, and the extension of culverts.

"This enormous project provided many challenges. With traffic averaging 65,000 vehicles a day, working in such a heavily congested area surrounded by commercial and residential properties restricted contractor access, work space and allowable hours," said Turnpike Chief Engineer Frank Kempf. "The fact that this project was finished on time is a testament to the determination of all who worked tirelessly to make it happen."

The project included replacement of nine bridges, construction of five sound walls, the widening of the shoulders from 10 to 12 ft. and replacing the old steel median rail with 52-inch concrete barrier. Financed with 100 percent toll dollars, the project was completed on schedule in November 2008. Construction Manager for the widening and reconstruction was Buchart-Horn Inc., York, Pa.