Kathy Liebler

Manager, Public Affairs & Media Relations

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


Christina Hampton

October 14 , 2004

Turnpike Breaks Ground on $181 Million Widening Project

Seven-mile stretch in suburban Philadelphia will be rebuilt, widened from four to six lanes.


PHILADELPHIA (Oct. 14, 2004) — PennsylvaniaTurnpike Commission CEO Joe Brimmeier joined Turnpike Chairman Mitchell Rubin of Philadelphia and Vice Chairman Timothy Carson of Montgomery County on the lawn adjacent to the tollbooth at the Norristown Exit to commemorate the start of construction for a major Turnpike expansion project in southeastern Pennsylvania.

Turning over the first shovel of earth for the reconstruction and six-lane widening of the Turnpike from Valley Forge to Norristown, Brimmeier said that this project and others are possible as a result of increased revenues from the Turnpike’s Aug. 1 toll increase.

“When we announced that tolls were going up earlier this year, we made a commitment that every penny of the increase will be spent on improving the roadway,” Brimmeier said. “Today, this project becomes the first visible sign of that pledge here in southeastern Pennsylvania. And I’m happy to say that it’s only the first of several planned improvement projects for the area.”

Gov. Ed Rendell said commuters will benefit greatly from the $181 million undertaking. “This is the most heavily traveled four-lane section of the PA Turnpike, and it’s located in our state’s most densely populated region,” Gov. Rendell said. “Renewing and widening this road is vital to improving the transportation network in the greater Philadelphia area.”

This critical section of highway — first opened on Nov. 17, 1954 — carries 64,000 vehicles daily with traffic projected to reach 72,000 vehicles per day by 2010.

The project involves the total reconstruction and six-lane widening of a 7-mile section of toll road from the Valley Forge Interchange (#326) in Upper Merion Township to the Norristown Interchange (#333) in Plymouth Township, Montgomery County. It is the Turnpike’s largest project in the region since the construction of the Mid-County Interchange (#20) in 1991.

The mainline widening will consist of two sub-projects separated by the Schuylkill River Bridge. (In anticipation of this project, the Schuylkill River Bridge and 1.8 miles of adjoining roadway were previously widened to accommodate six lanes. The $35.6 million project was completed in May 2000.) Construction will begin this month on the 2-mile section east of the Schuylkill River Bridge to the Norristown Exit. Next summer, construction will begin on the 5-mile portion west of the Schuylkill River Bridge extending to the Valley Forge Exit. Project costs, including design and construction, for the eastern 2 miles are $31 million; overall costs for the western 5-mile section are estimated at $85 million.

Another aspect of the project is the replacement of two overhead bridges in this corridor. Replacement of the Route 202 Bridge began in September 2004 and will be completed in June 2006 at a cost of $10.2 million. The Flint Hill Road Bridge replacement — a $5.1 million project — will begin in late October 2004 with completion in November 2005. Seven other bridges in the project area will be replaced as part of the east and west contracts above.

The replacement of the 50-year-old Norristown Interchange — yet another phase of this extensive improvement project — is scheduled to begin construction in spring 2005 and be completed in November 2006. This $14.3 million rebuild will provide 11 new and improved tollbooths (currently there are nine tollbooths), state-of the art E-ZPass lanes, a new fare-collection office building and reconfigured lanes.

In addition to the “full-depth” reconstruction and widening of the highway and the replacement of nine bridges, other upgrades to this stretch will include construction of five sound barriers, widening of the shoulder from 10 to 12 feet and replacement of the existing steel median guide rail with 52-inch concrete barrier.

The overall project — financed with 100 percent toll dollars — is scheduled to finish in 2008. When completed, the Turnpike will have more than 25 miles of continuous, six-lane superhighway from Valley Forge to the Philadelphia Interchange.

Buchart-Horn Inc., York, Pa., is construction manager for the project. Design project managers are Urban Engineers Inc. of Philadelphia and URS Greiner Inc. of King of Prussia. Construction contractors presently involved include Glasgow Inc., Glenside, Pa., Buckley & Co. Inc., Philadelphia and Driscoll Construction, Spring House, Pa.




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