Kathy Liebler
                        Director of Public Information

    C   O   M   M   I   S   S   I   O   N                N   E   W   S             R   E   L   E   A   S   E

    Contact: Kathy Liebler 717-939-9551 Ext. 2850                                February 5, 1997


        PHILADELPHIA, PA - - The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission in 1996 spent $17.7 million rehabilitating and replacing 24 bridges across the 506-mile toll road. Officials said that over the past six years, the Commission has invested more than $240 million in the replacement and rehabilitation of 258 of the Turnpike's 838 bridges.
        Executive Director John Durbin said "Bridge rehabilitation is a top priority at the Turnpike. We are committed to maintaining, rehabilitating and replacing Turnpike bridges to bring them up to modern standards to ensure a safer, smoother, more comfortable ride for our customers."
        Last year's most expensive bridge rehabilitation project was the $5.6 million redecking and widening of the bridge over Route 422 and North Gulf Road in Montgomery County west of the Valley Forge Interchange (exit 24).
        Other recent projects include the replacement of the original bridge at the Allegheny Valley Interchange (exit 5), Allegheny County, with two new bridges, replacement of a two- span concrete T-Beam bridge east of the New Stanton Interchange (exit 8), Westmoreland County, and replacement of a two span concrete T-beam bridge near the Kegg maintenance facility in Bedford County.
        This year alone, the Turnpike will begin more than $60 million in bridge rehabilitation and reconstruction work. That amount includes a multi-million dollar construction project of redecking and widening the Schuylkill River Bridge and Diamond Run Viaduct, located between the Valley Forge Interchange (exit 24) and the Norristown Interchange (exit 25) in Montgomery County.
        Turnpike Assistant Bridge Engineer Gary L. Graham said that during rehabilitation and reconstruction of Turnpike bridges, four lanes of traffic are usually maintained so that motorists are not inconvenienced.
        He explained that Turnpike bridges are inspected every two years. "We take measurements, look for cracking in the deck, rusting of steel members and other deficiencies. Then, based on measurements and observations do an analysis to determine if the bridge can handle heavy loads."
        Turnpike Bridge Maintenance Engineer Jim Stump said that the Turnpike Commission recently purchased a $363,000 state-of-the-art bridge inspection crane to support the Turnpike's biennial bridge inspection and bridge rehabilitation programs.
        "Since the crane does not require outriggers, the set up time for inspections is much quicker reducing inconvenience to turnpike travelers. Another feature is the crane's long reach which allows for more efficient, thorough and safer inspections." Stump said.


         P.O. Box 67676, Harrisburg, PA 17106-7676         Phone: (717) 939-9551         Fax: (717) 986-9649