The Pennsylvania Turnpike’s new, all-electronic interchange linking State Route 29 with the mainline Turnpike (Interstate 76) in Chester County has opened. The link – the first four-way interchange to be constructed on the mainline Turnpike in decades – is solely for use by E-ZPass customers, who make up two-thirds of Turnpike users inSoutheastern Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett joined Pennsylvania Turnpike Commissioners, state and local officials, and business executives to celebrate the achievement. “This project shows in concrete, brick and mortar and glass, the connection between transportation and our economy,” said the Governor. “As we make it easier to reach our places of commerce, those places and the jobs they create will grow. Jobs and prosperity, after all, are what these projects are about.”
Located about midway between the Downingtown and Valley Forge interchanges, the Route 29 Interchange will reduce congestion in the area. The 14-mile section of Turnpike between Downingtown and Valley Forge is the heaviest traveled of any four-lane section on the east-west Turnpike mainline, carrying an average of 50,000 vehicles per day, on average. The interchange will also provide convenient access to and from business parks like the Great Valley Corporate Center, the Commons at Great Valley, Atwater Corporate Center, and commercial and residential areas in Malvern and Paoli.
Urban teamed with JBC Associates to provide construction management and inspection services for the $60 million project. Construction, which began in March 2011, included a new multi-lane road over the mainline Turnpike, new westbound and eastbound on- and off-ramps, E-ZPass toll plaza facilities, and 4,000 feet of expansion to the Turnpike to accommodate future widening to six lanes between Downingtown and Valley Forge. The project also included constructing an extensive stormwater management system that utilizes wetland plantings and water quality inlets to trap pollutants to control and treat runoff from the site of the new interchange.
“The Route 29 Interchange is also about safety, efficiency and convenience — for Turnpike travelers and other regional commuters,” said Pennsylvania Turnpike Commissioner Pat Deon, a Bucks County businessman. “The interchange will shorten commute times to and from the area’s corporate centers, lighten rush-hour volumes at neighboring Turnpike interchanges and reduce congestion on other routes, improving safety and accessibility across the region.”