A Message From Our Chair
I have been advised over the years that there is no use in “burying the lead” in a news release or column so, with that guidance in mind, I am pleased to share with you that I have accepted a new role as the General Manager at SEPTA. My term as Secretary at PennDOT and Chair of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) will end this month. It was a difficult decision, obviously, and I am grateful to Gov. Tom Wolf for the opportunity to serve in both of these roles. I especially want to thank the entire team at the PTC for its tireless work in the last six years. Its dedication to our 500,000-plus daily customers – and very specifically to the safety of our customers – has been inspiring. CEO Mark Compton, COO Craig Shuey and the entire leadership team have done a tremendous job managing our agency’s resources against some challenging financial circumstances due to our annual $450 million payments to PennDOT.
While this will be my last column for The Road Ahead, I am confident that I will continue working with PennDOT, the PTC, and many of you in the coming months and years. Together, we have started a much-needed statewide discussion on funding our ground transportation system, including PennDOT, local roads, transit systems, and the PTC. Many of you participated in the development of Southeast and Southwest Partnerships for Mobility, which highlighted the need for greater investment in our entire transportation network. The partnerships, based in the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh regions respectively, provide a road map for identifying local and statewide solutions, and I encourage you to take a few minutes to review these reports. This discussion will continue into 2020.
In addition, I am happy to provide an update on our implementation of a statewide Automated Work Zone Speed Enforcement pilot program, launched this month; a look ahead to our winter preparedness efforts; and an important update for our business partners pursuing opportunities to provide the PTC with professional services. Finally, we are sharing time-lapse videos of our latest Accelerated Bridge Construction projects.
Again, I want to thank every one of you for your support, and I look forward to continuing to work with all of our partners in my new role at SEPTA.
PTC and PennDOT Launch an Automated Work Zone Speed Enforcement Pilot Project
PennDOT and the PTC have launched a statewide Automated Work Zone Speed Enforcement (AWZSE) pilot program. The goals of this initiative, which involves working with the PA State Police, include improving work zone safety for workers and motorists and changing driver behavior.
“When a crash occurs in an active work zone, it's just as likely to result in death or injury to a driver or passenger inside that vehicle,” PA Turnpike CEO Mark Compton said. “This program is about protecting everybody’s safety. If not for these workers in an active work zone, I ask you to slow down for yourself and other travelers.”
The program uses electronic speed timing devices that detect and record motorists exceeding posted work zone speed limits by 11 miles per hour or more. The devices are operational only in active work zones where workers are present.
CEO Compton thanked lawmakers and Gov. Wolf for establishing the program through Act 86 of 2018. Compton also noted that, in 2018, there were 1,804 work zone crashes in Pennsylvania, resulting in 23 fatalities, and 43 percent of work zone crashes resulted in fatalities and/or injuries.
Please click here for more information regarding the AWZSE program.
PTC Gears Up for Winter
The PTC, PennDOT, and PEMA are reminding motorists to be prepared for changing weather conditions as we head into winter. Key resources include:
The task force will provide recommendations on:
- www.511PA.com, which provides real-time travel information on nearly 40,000 state-maintained roadway miles year round
- www.penndot.gov/winter, which offers operational information, traveler resources, and a complete winter guide with detailed information about services that PennDOT provides across the state.
PTC CEO Mark Compton assured motorists that the Commission has the resources to ensure the system is safe and open, but he cautioned that motorists have a responsibility to know their own winter driving skills and their vehicle’s performance.
“Remember, wintertime driving requires reducing your speed to well below the posted limit, even in an all-wheel or four-wheel-drive vehicle. Recognize that getting there is going to take longer — perhaps considerably longer,” Compton said.
New Online Vendor Portal to Launch In 2020
In 2020, the PTC is slated to launch a vendor portal to better process invoice submissions and connect with business partners. The new site will provide a responsive, mobile-compatible user experience that will streamline PTC business processes with current and new vendors. Please click here for updates.
Watch a 55-Hour Bridge Replacement Project In a Few Minutes
The PTC continues to rely on the innovative Accelerated Bridge Construction (ABC) technique to deliver bridge replacement projects, most recently on I-76 in Cumberland County and I-476 in Lehigh County. ABC is a safe, cost-effective way to significantly reduce replacement time compared to using traditional bridge-replacement techniques. Please click here for a time-lapse video of the Cumberland County replacement project, and click here for a video of the Lehigh County project.