I-76 Viaducts

PennDOT Announces Start of Construction to Improve Safety on I-76, Route 82 (Manor Road) in Philadelphia and Chester Counties

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) announced today that construction is scheduled to begin on Thursday, November 19, on a project to improve travel and safety along Interstate 76 between the Montgomery Drive and Girard Avenue/U.S. 13 interchanges in Philadelphia, and Route 82 (Manor Road) between Business U.S. 30 (Lincoln Highway) and Butterworth Road in the City of Coatesville and Valley Township in Chester County.
 
Under this project, PennDOT’s contractor will mill and pave I-76 in both directions between the Montgomery Drive and Girard Avenue/U.S. 13 interchanges, as well as pave portions of the Montgomery Drive interchange ramps. Most of the paving will occur overnight. The deteriorating concrete median barrier will also be replaced, and high-friction surface treatment will be installed in select areas along I-76 to improve safety during inclement weather.
 
Once construction begins on Route 82 (Manor Road), overnight or daytime milling and paving operations will also occur, as well as the replacement of guiderail and a deteriorating raised concrete median between Business U.S. 30 (Lincoln Highway) and Butterworth Road. In addition, the Wagontown Road and Route 82 (Manor Road) Intersection will be reconfigured to require vehicles to stop prior to entering Route 82 (Manor Road).
 
Road-Con, Inc. of West Chester, Chester County, is the general contractor on the $3,265,646 project which is financed with 100 percent federal funds. The entire project is expected to be completed in fall of 2021.
 
Work on these projects will be in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and state Department of Health guidance as well as a project-specific COVID-19 safety plan, which will include protocols for social distancing, use of face coverings, personal and job-site cleaning protocols, management of entries to the jobsite, special signage and relevant training.
 
For a complete list of construction projects impacting state-owned highways in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties, visit www.penndot.gov/District6TrafficBulletin.

PennDOT Urges Caution in Work Zones

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) is urging motorists to drive safely in work zones after three separate work zone intrusions resulted in motorists hitting a PennDOT crash truck.
 
“Even though construction season is winding down in many places, we still have road crews out there,” said PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian. “Please don’t speed, never drive distracted, and always buckle up, especially in work zones.”
 
According to PennDOT data, in 2019 there were 1,754 work zone crashes, resulting in 16 fatalities. Since 1970, 89 PennDOT employees have died in the line of duty.
 
In addition to crash data from police reports, PennDOT monitors work-zone safety with internal reports. As of November 10, there have been 72 reported intrusions in PennDOT work zones. Of those work-zone intrusions, seven resulted in injures to PennDOT employees, 25 caused damage to PennDOT fleet or equipment, and 40 did not result in injury or damage but had the potential to do so.
 
Pennsylvania law states that anyone stopped by law enforcement for violating the posted speed limit by more than 5 mph will face doubled fines. The fine is determined based on the amount the driver is traveling over the speed limit. Governor Tom Wolf signed a law in 2016 that says any driver who causes serious bodily injury within a work zone could face up to $5,000 in fines and a six-month license suspension, and a driver causing a death within a work zone could face up to a $10,000 fine and one-year license suspension. Drivers who don’t turn on their headlights in posted work zones face a $25 fine.
 
Additionally, in an effort to change unsafe driving behaviors in work zones, Pennsylvania’s Automated Work Zone Speed Enforcement began earlier this year. The program uses vehicle-mounted systems to detect and record motorists exceeding posted work zone speed limits by 11 miles per hour or more using electronic speed timing devices. AWZSE systems can be deployed in active work zones, where workers are present, on the turnpike as well as any active work zone on a federal aid highway – this includes higher class roadways like interstates, major arterials, and numbered routes. Registered owners will receive a warning letter for a first offense, a violation notice and $75 fine for a second offense, and a violation notice and $150 fine for third and subsequent offenses. These violations are civil penalties only; no points will be assessed to driver’s licenses.
 
For more information on work zone safety visit, www.PennDOT.gov/Safety.

Construction Update: Fall 2020

Median Barrier Construction Continues

Fall 2020 – Construction to replace the median barrier continues this fall between University Avenue and 30th Street, the final stage of PennDOT’s two-year project to rehabilitate and resurface the Interstate 76 viaduct in Center City Philadelphia that is expected to finish late in 2020.

With the westbound expressway reduced to one lane around-the-clock through the end of the year, crews are removing the existing concrete median barrier and building a new, cast-in-place concrete barrier on the viaduct.

In addition to the westbound lane closure, the contractor is closing one lane of the eastbound expressway at nights and over weekends to speed the repairs. The on and off-ramps at the South Street Interchange also are impacted by the barrier construction, with the westbound I-76 off-ramp to South Street closed through the end of the year, and the South Street on-ramp to eastbound I-76 remains closed until November.

Ongoing repairs to the structural components beneath the viaduct also will continue through late 2020.

PennDOT in 2019 began repairs on the topside and underside of the Interstate 76 viaduct between 30th Street and University Avenue in Philadelphia. Throughout 2019 and 2020, PennDOT’s contractor repaired the westbound and eastbound viaduct during overnight and weekend operations.

As the top side of the viaduct was repaired and repaved during the 2019 construction season, work continued on the underside of the structure, where crews are rehabilitating the viaduct’s support columns. 

Completed repairs to the structure included cleaning and refurbishing the viaduct’s stormwater drainage system, repairs to the concrete deck’s expansion dams and parapets, and repaving the viaduct’s riding surface.

PennDOT will continue to communicate travel impacts in weekly Travel Advisories, which will be issued to local media and distributed through the project website to subscribers. (Sign up at https://i76viaduct.com/more-info/contact to receive travel advisories and other project-related information)

PennDOT is placing an overlay of synthetic polyester polymer concrete (PPC) as a new riding surface on the viaduct’s travel lanes. The PPC cures (dries and hardens) faster than conventional pavement, allowing the viaduct’s surface to be rehabilitated while minimizing the need for long-term lane closures that are normally required for conventional materials.

In addition, PennDOT’s contractor has finished work on the bridge that carries the Schuylkill Expressway over Route 23 and Arrowmink Creek in West Conshohocken Borough, Montgomery County. Joint, bearing, and structural steel repairs to this structure have been  completed. Similar repairs to several other I-76 bridges in Montgomery County were made earlier this year.

State Transportation Commission Adopts Updated 12-Year Transportation Program

Action Clears Way for Latest Round of Transportation Improvements across Pennsylvania

 
Harrisburg, PA – The State Transportation Commission (STC) today updated the 12-Year Program. The new plan anticipates $64.8 billion being available over the next 12 years for improvements to roads, bridges, transit systems, airports and railroads.
The 12-Year Program, or TYP, is a multimodal, fiscally-constrained planning tool used to identify and prioritize Pennsylvania’s transportation projects and the funds needed to complete them. State law requires the STC to review and update the 12-Year Program every two years. No capital project can move forward unless it is included in the 12-Year Program.
 
The newly adopted program, which takes effect October 1, anticipates the following funding availability in the first four years of the TYP from federal, state and local sources:

  • $11.4 billion for state highway and bridge projects;
  • $9.4 billion for public transit;
  • $321 million for multimodal projects;
  • $228 million for rail freight; and
  • $138 million for aviation.

“Investments in transportation are critical for keeping our communities connected to the global economy,” said PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian. “While additional investment in our large transportation network is certainly needed, PennDOT takes pride in being a responsible steward of federal, state and local dollars to help improve infrastructure across all modes.”
 
The TYP also highlights some of PennDOT’s major accomplishments over the past two years, such as becoming REAL ID-compliant, as well as impacts to transportation in Pennsylvania because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
Four Rural Planning Organizations, 19 Metropolitan Planning Organizations and one independent county partnered with PennDOT in the review and development of the update. Now that the STC has approved the update, it has been submitted to the Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Transit Administration for review and approval. The Federal Highway Administration coordinates with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to review the plan’s conformity with air quality requirements.
 
Public input early in the 12-Year planning process played a key role in identifying investments in the various transportation modes.
 
The State Transportation Commission is chaired by the Secretary of PennDOT and consists of 10 appointed citizens as well as the majority and minority chairs of the state House and Senate Transportation committees.
 
For more information about the TYP, visit www.TalkPATransportation.com.

Construction Update: Summer 2020

Eastbound Viaduct Repairs Completed, Construction Continues on Westbound Side

Summer 2020 – With construction on the eastbound side of Interstate 76 finishing in early summer, PennDOT’s contractor will focus on completing westbound pavement repairs and resurfacing this summer before shifting to the final stage of the project to remove and replace the median barrier between University Avenue and 30th Street in Center City Philadelphia.

Weekend long closures of the expressway are expected to end once work finishes on the westbound side in August. Median work will then get underway, requiring an around-the-clock closure of a westbound lane between University Avenue and 30th Street through late 2020 for median replacement.

Repairs to the structural components beneath the viaduct also will continue until later in the year.

PennDOT in 2019 began repairs on the topside and underside of the Interstate 76 viaduct between 30th Street and University Avenue in Philadelphia. Throughout 2019, PennDOT’s contractor repaired the surface of a significant part of the eastbound viaduct overnight and weekend operations.

As the top side of the viaduct was repaired and repaved during the 2019 construction season, work continued on the underside of the structure, where crews are rehabilitating the viaduct’s support columns. The contractor is utilizing a construction barge along the west side of the Schuylkill River to reach hard-to-access sections of the viaduct.

Rehabilitation of the surface of the eastbound structure included cleaning and refurbishing the eastbound viaduct’s stormwater drainage system and repairs to the concrete deck’s expansion dams, parapets, and deteriorated pavement overlay. During several full weekend closures of the eastbound expressway in 2019, crews milled and overlayed large sections of the eastbound right lane and shoulder.

During the remaining surface repairs that will take place in the westbound direction in 2020, motorists should anticipate similar impacts to traffic as work is performed on the remaining portion of the expressway. In addition, various on-off ramps may be closed periodically as the work progresses. A revised construction schedule will be published on the project website prior to the start of work in 2020.

PennDOT will continue to communicate travel impacts in weekly Travel Advisories, which will be issued to local media and distributed through the project website to subscribers. Sign up at www.i76viaduct.com/more-info/contact to receive travel advisories and other project-related information.

PennDOT is placing an overlay of synthetic polyester polymer concrete (PPC) as a new riding surface on the viaduct’s travel lanes. The PPC cures (dries and hardens) faster than conventional pavement, allowing the viaduct’s surface to be rehabilitated while minimizing the need for long-term lane closures that are normally required for conventional materials.

In addition, PennDOT’s contractor has finished work on the bridge that carries the Schuylkill Expressway over Route 23 and Arrowmink Creek in West Conshohocken Borough, Montgomery County. Joint, bearing, and structural steel repairs to this structure have been completed. Similar repairs to other I-76 bridges in Montgomery County were made earlier this year.

PennDOT Extends Expiration Dates on Driver Licenses, ID Cards, and Learner’s Permits

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) announced today that expiration dates for driver licenses, identification cards, and learner’s permits, will be extended for Pennsylvania residents in response to statewide COVID-19 mitigation efforts.

Effective July 23, expiration dates for driver licenses, photo ID cards, and learner’s permits scheduled to expire from March 16, 2020 through August 31, 2020, have been extended until August 31, 2020. These extensions are in addition to those announced on June 25.

A camera card is considered a driver’s license, so it is covered by the same terms and conditions extending other driver’s license products. Camera cards with expiration dates within this timeframe are also extended through August 31, 2020.

Additionally, limited services are available at some Driver License and Photo License Centers. For a list of open driver license and photo license centers and the services provided, as well as their hours of operation, please visit www.dmv.pa.gov.   

Customers may continue to complete various transactions and access multiple resources online at www.dmv.pa.gov. Driver and vehicle online services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and include driver’s license, photo ID and vehicle registration renewals; driver-history services; changes of address; driver license and vehicle registration restoration letters; ability to pay driver license or vehicle insurance restoration fee; driver license and photo ID duplicates; and schedule a driver’s exam. There are no additional fees for using online services.

PennDOT will continue to evaluate these processes and will communicate any changes with the public.

More COVID-19 information is available at www.health.pa.gov. For more information, visit www.dmv.pa.gov or www.PennDOT.gov.

Chestnut Street Bridge Over the Schuylkill River Closed to All Traffic

The Chestnut Street bridge over the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia is scheduled to close to all vehicular, pedestrian, and bicycling traffic beginning at 8:00 PM Monday, June 8, for the completion of structural steel repairs, redecking and other improvements, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) announced today.

PennDOT closed the 63-year-old eastbound connection between University City and Center City to through-vehicles in August 2019 and began repairs to the north side of the span. The south side of the bridge remained open to pedestrians and bicyclists, and for motorists needing access to the parking lot of the 2400 Chestnut office and residential building while a temporary ramp to the lot was constructed. Once the bridge is fully closed, motorists will access the lot via a temporary ramp from 23rd Street and Chestnut Street.

During the closure, motorists and cyclists heading east from West Philadelphia will be detoured north on either 38th Street, 36th Street or 33rd Street to east on Market Street, then across the river to 23rd Street.

Chestnut Street motorists in the vicinity of 30th Street also may turn left on Schuylkill Avenue to access either eastbound Market Street or John F. Kennedy Boulevard across the river to Center City.

An alternate detour for cyclists will be to take 38th Street or 34th Street south, turn left on Spruce Street, then east on South Street across the river to 22nd Street.

Pedestrians will be detoured to either the Market Street or Walnut Street bridges over the river.

Work on this project will be in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and state Department of Health guidance as well as a project-specific COVID-19 safety plan, which will include protocols for social distancing, use of face coverings, personal and job-site cleaning protocols, management of entries to the jobsite, special signing, and relevant training. 

Repairs to the bridge are part of PennDOT’s $103.6 million project that also includes rehabilitation of eight other nearby structures, including those carrying Schuylkill Avenue over I-76 between Walnut Street and Chestnut Street, and between Chestnut Street and Market Street. More information is available at www.chestnutstreetbridges.com.

The Chestnut Street Bridge over the Schuylkill River, which carries approximately 18,664 vehicles per day is expected to reopen by late fall. The current bridge was built in 1957, replacing the original iron arch bridge that was built in 1912.

PennDOT Resumes Construction Projects May 1

Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) announced today that in accordance with Governor Tom Wolf’s plan for a phased-in reopening of public and private construction, PennDOT highway and bridge construction projects will resume beginning May 1.

“Our decision to pause construction was not made lightly, and we understand the importance of these projects to communities across Pennsylvania and to our industry partners,” said Acting PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian. “Thanks to the swift, decisive actions of the administration and the cooperation of Pennsylvanians, the curve is starting to flatten and we’re now in a position to restart these important improvements to the transportation network.”

On March 17, in response to Governor Wolf’s COVID-19 mitigation guidance, PennDOT paused construction projects statewide, except for emergency needs. Since then, PennDOT has progressively continued critical projects addressing landslide repairs, or critical bridge, tunnel and drainage repairs, and work needed to eliminate roadway restrictions that could impede the ability for the movement of life-sustaining goods and services.

PennDOT road and bridge construction projects will restart with limited exceptions based on project-specific factors, including location and feasibility for social distancing and COVID-19 safety protocols at the jobsite. Work on all projects will be conducted in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Pennsylvania Department of Health guidance as well as a project-specific COVID-19 safety plan, which will include protocols for social distancing, use of face coverings, personal and job-site cleaning protocols, management of entries to the jobsite, and relevant training.

The safety plan, as well as a general framework for restarting construction projects, was developed by a PennDOT-led multidisciplinary team with representation from the construction industry and the consulting engineering community, as well as the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).

“I could not be prouder of the collaboration between PennDOT, the Turnpike Commission, FHWA, and our partners in the industry,” Gramian said. “While we are all eager to return to work, it was critical to establish safety protocols to minimize COVID-19 exposure for PennDOT and private-sector employees, as well as the communities where they live and work.”

Information on PennDOT construction projects can be found at projects.PennDOT.gov. PennDOT is currently evaluating schedule impacts due to COVID-19.

More COVID-19 information is available at www.health.pa.gov. For more information on PennDOT’s COVID-19 response, visit www.PennDOT.gov or www.dmv.pa.gov. PennDOT is sharing stories of continued and innovative operations during COVID-19, accessible from its PennDOT Way blog at www.PennDOT.gov/blog.

Federal REAL ID Enforcement Deadline Postponed to October 2021

Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) announced that the Department of Homeland Security has postponed the enforcement date for REAL ID from October 1, 2020, to October 1, 2021, in response to COVID-19 and the national emergency declaration.

PennDOT closed all driver and photo license centers on March 16 and paused REAL ID issuance in the state out of an abundance of caution and in the interest of public health. Centers will reopen no sooner than April 3. PennDOT also sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, requesting that the agency consider extending the October 1, 2020 REAL ID enforcement deadline.

“We are very pleased that the Department of Homeland Security has listened to our concerns, as well as the concerns from our fellow states regarding the need for a postponement on REAL ID enforcement in the midst of this national emergency,” said PennDOT Acting Secretary Yassmin Gramian.

REAL ID is a federal law that affects how states issue driver’s licenses and ID cards if they are going to be acceptable for federal purposes. A federally-acceptable form of identification (whether it’s a Pennsylvania REAL ID driver’s license or ID card, a valid U.S. Passport/Passport Card, a military ID, etc.) must now be used on and after October 1, 2021, as identification to board a commercial flight or visit a secure federal building that requires a federally acceptable form of identification ID for access.

REAL ID is optional in Pennsylvania. There is no requirement that any resident obtain a REAL ID; PennDOT will continue to offer standard-issue driver’s licenses and photo IDs once issuance has resumed.

More information about document requirements, including a printable document checklist, can be found on the Document Check page of the PennDOT Driver and Vehicle Services website.

Customers may complete various transactions and access multiple resources via  www.dmv.pa.gov.

Driver and vehicle online services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and include driver’s license, photo ID and vehicle registration renewals; driver-history services; changes of address; driver license and vehicle registration restoration letters; ability to pay driver license or vehicle insurance restoration fee; driver license and photo ID duplicates; and driver exam scheduling. There are no additional fees for using online services.

Automated Work Zone Speed Enforcement Underway

Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) and the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) today announced that enforcement of the statewide Automated Work Zone Speed Enforcement (AWZSE) program begins next week. Today marks the end of a 60-day pre-enforcement period that was required by Act 86 of 2018, which established the AWZSE program.

“Through the Automated Work Zone Speed Enforcement program, we are urging motorists to slow down and pay attention while driving, especially through work zones where roadway conditions can change on a daily basis,” said acting PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian. “In 2018, 23 motorists were killed in a Pennsylvania work zone. Ultimately, this program is not about issuing violations, it’s about saving lives.”

Pennsylvania’s AWZSE program uses vehicle-mounted systems to detect and record motorists exceeding posted work zone speed limits by 11 miles per hour or more using electronic speed timing devices. AWZSE systems are only operational in active work zones where workers are present. Beginning today, registered owners will receive a warning letter for a first offense, a violation notice and $75 fine for a second offense, and a violation notice and $150 fine for third and subsequent offenses. These violations are civil penalties only; no points will be assessed to driver’s licenses.

Work zones are selected to maximize the effectiveness of the systems and will be marked with signage in advance of the enforcement area. Additionally, locations are posted on the project website, WorkZoneCameras.PennDOT.gov.

“While there can be fines assessed, the AWZSE program’s goal is not to generate revenue,” explained PA Turnpike CEO Mark Compton. “The goal is to build awareness and most importantly, to change unsafe driving behaviors. The program serves as a roadway reminder that safety is literally in each driver’s hands when they are behind the wheel.”

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. Since 1970, PennDOT has lost 89 workers in the line of duty. The PA Turnpike has lost 45 workers since 1945.

For more information on the Automated Work Zone Speed Enforcement program, including a list of projects where the units are deployed, visit WorkZoneCameras.PennDOT.gov.