|September 7, 2017|
PA Turnpike to Replace Bridges over Span of One Weekend
HARRISBURG, PA (Sept. 7, 2017) — The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission is scheduled to replace two bridges later this month — one in Beaver County and one in Lehigh County — using a proven engineering technique that allows workers to replace a bridge in one weekend rather than a year or more of construction.
“The Accelerated Bridge Construction process is a cost-effective way to replace bridges within a short timeframe while reducing worker exposure in construction zones which in turn improves safety for workers and motorists alike,” PA Turnpike CEO Mark Compton said. “It also eliminates the need for months or years of cattle chutes, single-lane traffic patterns and other restrictions for motorists.”
While there are other benefits to the ABC technique, Compton cautioned motorists that the bridge replacements will create significant, regional travel delays. The PA Turnpike will implement detours in both directions for a 55-hour period to allow workers to demolish the old bridge and slide the new spans into position. Compton strongly urged motorists to consider alternative routes, travel during off-peak hours or avoid the area altogether during the detours as they add substantial travel time.
“Motorists will face lengthy detours that will add more than an hour to their travel time,” Compton said. “As a result, we strongly advise customers to steer clear of these areas during the detour weekends or build in plenty of extra travel time.”
The authorized detour routes will be clearly marked for both through traffic and local traffic. Motorists should pay close attention while driving the detour, looking for the orange-and-black directional signs.
The PA Turnpike closures are scheduled as follows:
During the Sept. 22 detour, crews will demolish and replace a bridge carrying the Turnpike (I-76) over Brush Creek in New Sewickley Township, Beaver County. The 150-foot long bridge opened to traffic on Dec. 26, 1951 and today carries roughly 40,000 vehicles per day, combined east/west.
During the Sept. 29 detour, crews will demolish and replace a bridge carrying the Northeastern Extension (I-476) over Crackersport Road in South Whitehall Township, Lehigh County. The 131-foot long bridge opened to traffic on Nov. 7, 1957 and today carries roughly 30,000 vehicles per day, combined north/south.
For the last several months, crews have been constructing the new bridges next to the existing bridges. When the highway section is closed, workers will demolish the existing bridges and replace them with the new spans.
In the last two decades, the Pennsylvania Turnpike has completed dozens of bridge-replacement projects to ensure the safety and integrity of the critical structures. Although this is the first time the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission is using the ABC engineering technique, PennDOT has successfully deployed the technique on other state roadways in the past.
Details and maps of the detours are available at www.paturnpike.com/ABC.