Urban Engineers (Urban) joined Governor Tom Corbett, Lt. Governor Cawley and Turnpike leaders recently in Bensalem to officially kick-off the start of the $500 million Stage 1 of the project to connect the Pennsylvania Turnpike to Interstate 95 (I-95), finally completing the nation’s original Interstate Highway System and improving travel through the Mid-Atlantic.
Urban is the construction manager for this $59 million project which includes constructing a mainline toll facility that will become the new eastern terminus of the Turnpike’s Ticket based-based toll collection system, reconstructing and widening of a portion of Interstate 276 (I-276) in Bensalem, and building an All-Electronic Tolling (AET) location for customers entering Pennsylvania via the Delaware River Bridge. The Stage-1 project corridor is located between the Bensalem Interchange (Exit #351) and the Delaware River Bridge on the Turnpike, and from the Neshaminy Creek to the Turnpike along I-95.
“We’re here to commemorate the beginning of a critical infrastructure project that will undoubtedly improve the quality of life for residents and commuters in the surrounding area,” said Turnpike Chief Executive Officer Mark Compton. “Many also consider the Turnpike/I-95 link to be a central component for the continued economic growth and competitiveness of this region.”
Since 2010, Urban has overseen the replacement of two overhead bridges and a wetlands mitigation site related to Stage-1 construction. Several other projects are now in construction, including the implementation of an advance intelligent transportation system (ITS) with work-zone monitoring and traffic control, a stream-mitigation project in Bristol Township, and the replacement of bridges carrying Ford Road over I-95 and Richlieu Road over I-276.
When Stage-1 construction is completed sometime in 2018 (the anticipated timeframe based on the commission’s current capital plan), the new I-95 movements will be opened to traffic. Simultaneously, sections of the existing PA and NJ Turnpikes will be redesignated as I-95, thus making the East Coast’s primary interstate highway continuous from Florida to Maine. Two additional Stage-1 interstate widening and improvement contracts along the Turnpike (to begin in 2014) and I-95 (to begin in 2015) are needed to achieve this I-95 completion and redesignation.
“Years in the making, this link will enhance mobility for thousands of commuters throughout the corridor, improving safety and convenience not only for Turnpike users but anyone else using the region’s roadway network,” said Turnpike Commissioner Pat Deon. “The new link will shorten travel times, help relieve overcrowding on local roads and at adjacent Turnpike interchanges and provide better access to growing corporate centers nearby.”