TMA Bucks was on hand September 21 as the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, along with its ground-transportation funding partners, celebrated the opening of a long-awaited interchange connecting Interstates 95 and 276 (the PA Turnpike) in Bucks County. The Pennsylvania Turnpike/Interstate 95 Interchange Project now directly connects the two highways.
Officials from the PA Turnpike, the PA Department of Transportation (PennDOT), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and representatives from ground-transportation agencies in neighboring states gathered this morning 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 opened to traffic for the September 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 completion of I-95 will have tremendous benefits for Bucks County in terms of economic development, job creation, and reduced traffic congestion on area roads,” said TMA Bucks executive director Steve Noll. “This project will be a game changer for Bucks County and beyond, and I look forward to experiencing the results.”
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.
“Collaboration and the use of technology have played large roles in the success of this project,” said PennDOT District 6 executive Kenneth M. McClain. “Utilizing Dynamic Message Boards to alert motorists of construction activities along the corridor provided a tremendous safety benefit to drivers and construction workers alike. This continued partnership between PennDOT, the Pennsylvania Turnpike and the other agencies has given way to a seamless commute for those traveling Interstate 95.”
Approximately $450 million, split roughly evenly among FHWA and the PA Turnpike, has been spent to date on Stage 1 components.
To learn more visit http://i95link.com/