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June/July 2021

Home News The Road Ahead June/July 2021

A Note From Our Chair PA Turnpike Chair Gramian

Building a new interstate is a massive undertaking in “normal” times; doing so in a pandemic presents a whole set of unprecedented challenges. Still, despite COVID-19 and torrential rains that halted construction for weeks at a time, I am proud to report that the Commission’s Southern Beltway project is on track to open in October.

When complete, the $900 million Southern Beltway will stretch 13 miles, connecting Pittsburgh International Airport at I-376 to I-79. The project was started in 2013, and it will be a game changer for the region’s economy.

Our agency continues to make investments in new tools to help customers save money – on tolls and as they visit some of our business partners, including Hersheypark. Our Public Relations and Marketing team launched an innovative marketing campaign to highlight the benefits of enrolling in the E-ZPass program and a new E-ZPass retailer partnership with Weis Markets.

Finally, I want to remind drivers to always drive safely, and especially so in work zones. Our GoOrangePA campaign provides a sobering reminder of the need to follow all speed limit postings, put the phone down and keep your eyes up. Please visit the site and sign the pledge. Remember, lives are at stake.

I want to thank you for your continued interest in our agency. I encourage you to share the link to The Road Ahead with colleagues.

Southern Beltway ConstructionSouthern Beltway Set for October Opening

The Southern Beltway project is one of the most significant and challenging construction projects in our recent history. The $900 million project was launched in 2013 with the passage of Act 89 and, despite unforeseen challenges, it is on time for an October 2021 opening.

Due to the complexity of building a new 13-mile roadway, the U.S. Route 22 to I-79 project was divided into nine construction sections. Crews are working on interchange connections with Fort Cherry Road and I-79. The construction of the intersection with I-79 is the most complex and will take the most time.

Local and state officials have long recognized that the Southern Beltway will serve as an economic catalyst for the region, and the PTC is proud of the work that our staff and our construction and engineering partners have done to keep the project on track.

The entire Southern Beltway will utilize an open-road tolling system with overhead gantries at three tolling points. Some of the tolling equipment still needs to be installed, and the tolls have yet to be determined but are expected to be under $5 to travel the entire length.

In addition, the project includes a new, state-of-the-art maintenance building to house the equipment needed to maintain the roadway year-round. It will be staffed with a full-time maintenance crew that will take care of the roadway 24/7.

Please click here for more information on this exciting project.

PA Turnpike Construction Engineering Manager, Steve Hrvoich, P.E. who leads the Southern Beltway Construction project in western Pennsylvania, helped pen an article about the project for the Engineers’ Society of Western Pennsylvania Spring Edition.

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PA Toll Pay AppPA Toll Pay App Offers Savings and Convenience

The PTC’s new smartphone app, "PA Toll Pay," is now fully functional. We are encouraging customers to download the app and take advantage of this tool.

The app allows customers to sign up for Autopay and realize a 15 percent discount on all Toll By Plate tolls — a significant savings. In addition, the app allows Toll By Plate customers to pay invoices and to manage their accounts.

E-ZPass customers can use the app to manage their accounts conveniently as well. You can easily add a vehicle to your account by snapping a picture of the license plate.

For more information on how to make any payment for traveling on the PA Turnpike, please click here.

P.A. Rhodes campaign image

PTC Introduces ‘P.A. Rhodes’ Campaign

As we emerge from the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic and travel picks up, our customers will meet P.A. Rhodes, an enthusiast persona who will be the voice for our “Road Pro” E-ZPass campaign.

The character — a Pittsburgh resident named Ebony in real life — will be seen and heard on traditional radio, music and navigation apps, online videos, and digital media, not to mention at our service plazas and on our website.

“We live in the age of authentic communication,” PR & Marketing Director Carl DeFebo explains. “P. A. Rhodes was chosen to represent everyday Pennsylvanians and will spotlight the best experiences that our travelers can find as they drive the PA Turnpike.”

The Road Pro campaign drives home several messages, principally that E-ZPass will always be the most affordable way to travel our system. In addition, the campaign will remind customers that the PA Turnpike provides travelers with a 552-mile gateway through the best that Pennsylvania has to offer.

Hersheypark ride

PTC Joins Partnership with Hersheypark

Hersheypark and the PTC are Pennsylvania icons, and we are working together through a partnership that will deliver savings to our customers and build awareness about E‑ZPass.

Hersheypark will also promote an E‑ZPass sponsored trip giveaway to Hershey using the PA Turnpike. The contest winner will receive park passes and lodging from Hersheypark, an E‑ZPass gift certificate, and gas card from the PTC.

Weis Markets logo

Weis Markets Begins Selling E‑ZPass

Weis Markets, a mid-Atlantic food retailer headquartered in Sunbury, PA, is now offering E-ZPass “Go Pak” sales to customers in Pennsylvania locations. Weis is a locally focused company and is committed to the communities it serves.

Weis joins a growing number of retailers that the PTC is working with to offer E-ZPass Go Paks, which include a transponder that must be registered before use. About 600 grocery and convenience stores in the commonwealth now sell E-ZPass. To find a location near you,  click here.

Founded in 1912, Weis Markets operates 197 stores in Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Virginia, and West Virginia. For more information, visit their website at Weis Markets or Weis Markets | Facebook.