Media & Public Relations

Contact: Carl DeFebo

April 17, 2009

PA Turnpike, Local Officials Agree to Reopen Project Dialogue

Talks resume on six-lane turnpike widening in Chester and Montgomery counties.

HARRISBURG, PA (04/17/2009; 1050)(readMedia)-- Senior Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) officials today announced they have reopened a dialogue with local public officials regarding design details of a $220 million project to rebuild and widen a six-mile stretch of toll road west of the Valley Forge Interchange (#326). Talks broke off last month when it seemed an agreement was unlikely on design details, including alternative stormwater-control methods.

The PTC suspended design on this reconstruction and widening between milepost 320 and 326 in Tredyffrin and Upper Merion townships on March 24. The PTC at the same time suspended construction of its adjoining, $65 million Route 29 Interchange that would have boosted traffic on the unimproved, four-lane highway resulting in increased deterioration in the level of service and safety.

"Since suspension of these two projects was first announced, the turnpike has heard from many local, county and regional stakeholders who have asked us to reengage with local public officials in the hope of reaching an agreement that might permit these critical infrastructure projects to move forward at costs reasonable to the PTC and our traveling customers," said Acting Turnpike Chairman Timothy J. Carson. "Recognizing the significant value of these projects in enhancing the movement of people and goods in Pennsylvania - and with mutual assurances of good faith and cooperation - we've reopened a dialogue with local public officials to explore the prospects of resuming these projects under acceptable financial conditions."

The milepost 320-326 project is part of the PTC's $2 billion total-reconstruction program under which 60 miles of roadway have been reconstructed and 18.5 miles are presently in construction, leaving almost 400 miles yet to be rebuilt. The PTC had long planned to widen its congested eastern mainline even before 1999 - the year it launched a statewide initiative to rebuild the toll road from the ground up. Now, the part of the turnpike between Valley Forge and Downingtown is the busiest four-lane section of the east-west mainline, used by nearly 50,000 motorists daily.

Carson added that, as new discussions continue, the two projects will remain in suspended status.