Penn restarts $530m in turnpike projects

Pennsylvania to Restart $530M in Turnpike Projects

Workers place concrete for a pier cap on the I-79 project in Pennsylvania. Photo courtesy of Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission

The Pennsylvania governor’s office has decided to allow construction to resume on several suspended Pennsylvania Turnpike projects, pending a review of the contractors’ COVID-19-related jobsite safety plans.

The decision, announced on March 31, applies to four projects, whose total value is $530.1 million, said Renee Vid Colborn, a Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission spokesperson.

The projects had been frozen two weeks earlier, in response to Wolf’s directive suspending all construction statewide.

There is a caveat, however. Colburn told ENR via email that “the actual restart of work will be determined once the Turnpike receives an accepted COVID-19 safety plan from contractors and a project restart meeting is held for each project.”

The largest project among the four is a $225.1-million reconstruction and widening of seven miles of the Turnpike’s Northeastern Extension, in Montgomery County.

The second-largest project to be unfrozen is a $174.3-million section of the Southern Beltway program in Allegheny and Washington counties, in western Pennsylvania. It involves an interchange between Interstate-576 and I-79.

Also on the list are a $110-million rehabilitation for the Tuscarora Tunnel on the Huntingdon-Franklin county line and a $20.7-million replacement of lighting in the Allegheny Tunnel.

The turnpike’s system is a group of toll highways. Its east-west mainline extends 359 miles, from the Delaware River to the Ohio state line. It also includes the 110-mile Northeastern Extension and 83 miles of western expansions. The turnpike opened in 1940 as a 160-mile highway.

Also on March 31, the Pennsylvania Dept. of Transportation—which is separate from the Turnpike Commission, announced the restart of 61 critically important projects around the state. Those projects have a total value of about $1 billion. [View 4/2/2020 ENR story here.]


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