|$198 Million Construction Project to Begin on Northeastern Extension April 28
Pa. Turnpike to reconstruct and widen six miles of I-476 between milepost A26 and A31.
| The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission’s (PTC) commitment to its Total Reconstruction Project to rebuild and widen the Northeastern Extension (I-476) from four to six lanes will kick into high gear this month. The northern section of the 11-mile full-depth reconstruction project between the Mid-County (Exit #20) and Lansdale (Exit #31) interchanges (milepost A26-A31) in Montgomery County is scheduled to get a major overhaul starting later this month. Work on this massive, $198 million six-mile reconstruction project will begin the week of April 28 and is expected to last approximately two and a half years until the anticipated completion in late 2016.
The project - funded wholly by toll revenues without any state or federal tax dollars — is being built by Allan A. Myers (AAM) of Worcester, Pa., the low bidder awarded the nearly $198 million contract by the PTC on March 4. The work area includes nearly six miles of roadway and bridge reconstruction on I-476 starting south of Berks Road (milepost A25.4) to just north of the Lansdale Interchange (milepost A31.3) and traverses Worcester, Upper Gwynedd, Towamencin and Lower Salford townships in Montgomery County.
The section of I-476 between the Mid-County and Lansdale interchanges (milepost A20-A31), is the heaviest-traveled, four-lane stretch of Pennsylvania Turnpike in the state. Originally opened to traffic in 1957, today this stretch of roadway carries approximately 65,500 vehicles a day. Traffic volumes on this section are expected to reach more than 100,000 vehicles per day by 2030.
The entire 11-mile project, once completed, will improve safety and provide a more efficient flow of traffic for Turnpike customers. Full-depth reconstruction involves removing all original pavement and sub-base and replacing it with an entirely new roadway. The existing, four-lane highway will be replaced with a six-lane highway that has full, 12-foot-wide shoulders to the left and right of the travel lanes. All other facets of the highway will also be replaced including lighting, barriers and guide rail, noise barriers and retention walls, and drainage systems.
To accommodate construction of the northern portion of the six-lane highway, three overhead bridges (bridges that carry traffic over the Turnpike) were replaced between 2008 and 2013. During construction, two remaining overhead structures, the Lansdale Interchange ramp bridge and the Bustard Road bridge, and six mainline bridges (bridges that carry Turnpike traffic over local roads or waterways) will be replaced during this project. The contractor anticipates closing Bustard Road to traffic on or about July 14, 2014 through May 2015. The PennDOT-approved planned detour route can be viewed on the project website at: www.paturnpike.com/constructionprojects/mpA20toA31.
Weather permitting, AAM anticipates limited work to begin the week of April 28, mostly within the Turnpike's right-of-way. Initial work will include installation of advanced warning signs and traffic control devices. Additionally, temporary concrete barrier will be installed on all entry and exit ramps at the Lansdale Interchange and the contractor will begin shoulder reconstruction work.
On or about May 14, concrete barrier will be installed, eliminating the shoulder in both directions on I-476 from the vicinity of the Bustard Road bridge north to the project limits (A29.6-A31.3). Future work includes clearing trees, earthwork, and construction of sedimentation basins and installation of erosion and sedimentation controls. Some utility relocation work will also be required.
AAM will limit construction activities on I-476 to north of milepost A29 through milepost A31 until Walsh Construction completes the work currently in construction between the Mid-County Interchange and Berks Road (milepost A20-A26), which is expected to be completed by October 2014.
The projects are part of a statewide initiative to rebuild the entire 550-mile Turnpike. To date, the Turnpike has rebuilt and widened about 105 miles of roadway. Currently, 30 miles are in construction and 155 miles are in design.
Advanced notification of major work activities impacting traffic will be provided via regional media, variable message signs, E-Bulletins and postings on the project website.
Turnpike motorists can also get up-to-date travel conditions by calling 866-976-TRIP (or 866-976-8747). This toll-free number gives audio advisories for the region in which you are traveling, including delays and closures. For a snapshot of conditions across the Turnpike, including access to traffic cams, traffic-flow monitors, audio advisories and more, visit the Interactive Travel Map at www.paturnpike.com/webmap.