The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) announced 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.