Urban Engineers was pleased to attend the opening preview and celebration of the long-awaited interchange connecting Interstates 95 and 276 (the PA Turnpike) in Bucks County. The Pennsylvania Turnpike/Interstate 95 Interchange Project will directly connect the two highways beginning this weekend.
Urban has served as the construction manager for the $450 million interchange, which will have far-reaching impacts. The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission foresees the project reducing congestion along the entire east coast. Locally, it will relieve the strain on Bucks County roads and reduce traffic in the greater Philadelphia region.
Officials from the PA Turnpike, the PA Department of Transportation, the Federal Highway Administration and representatives from ground-transportation agencies in neighboring states gathered to commemorate completion of major, Stage 1 components of the Turnpike/Interstate 95 Interchange Project.
“Motorists who travel in this area have been waiting a long time to realize the benefits this direct link will bring, namely reduced congestion on Bucks County roadways and improved traffic flow in the Philadelphia region and the entire east coast,” said PA Turnpike Commissioner Pasquale T. (Pat) Deon Sr. “At 1,900 miles, I-95 is the longest north-south artery in the United States and our most-used highway regarding vehicle miles traveled.”
The interchange, which will open to traffic for the Sept. 24 morning commute, is made up of two highway-speed (55 mph) connecting structures: One, 2,300 feet long, will carry northbound I-95 traffic onto the eastbound PA Turnpike (I-276). The other, 2,500 feet long, will carry westbound I-276 traffic onto southbound I-95.
“This new interchange — along with the re-designation of parts of the New Jersey and Pennsylvania turnpikes — will finally complete I-95’s missing link, making the interstate continuous from Florida to Maine,” said PA Turnpike CEO Mark Compton. “Its opening also marks the completion of the original Interstate system decades after the law that created the network of highways was signed in 1956.”
Upon opening of these “flyovers” — so named because they can be traveled at highway speeds — the PA Turnpike stretch in Bristol Township from the new interchange east to the New Jersey line will be re-designated as I-95. From the new interchange, northbound I-95 will be routed east along the PA Turnpike, across the Delaware River Bridge to the NJ Turnpike Connector, then on to the northbound NJ at Turnpike Exit 6.
The re-designation of the PA Turnpike as I-95 east of the new interchange also necessitated a re-designation of a segment of I-95 from the PA Turnpike over the Scudder Falls bridge into New Jersey and terminating at U.S. Route 1 above Trenton. Earlier this year, I-95 in New Jersey was re-designated as I-295 North/South from U.S. Route 1 to the Scudder Falls bridge. After this change, I-95 was converted to I-295 East/West in Pennsylvania from the Scudder Falls bridge to the PA Turnpike.
The project included construction of different elements needed to make this connection a reality. They included:
The construction schedule for Stage 2, which consists of the six remaining interchange movements between Interstates 276, 95 and 295, and Stage 3, a future Delaware River Bridge project, is largely dependent on funding.
Read more on the Pennsylvania Turnpike's website.