Turnpike Interchange enters phase 2
AL ZAGOFSKY/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS Contractors merge traffic into a single lane on the southern side of the Route 903 bridge over the Pennsylvania Turnpike as construction begins on phase 2 of the E-ZPass Only Interchange.
The Pennsylvania Turnpike s Route 903 All-Electronic Interchange Project shifted into its second phase with construction beginning along Route 903 on both the north and south sides of the PA Turnpike bridge in Penn Forest Township.
Motorists are advised of traffic delays approaching the bridge from both sides of Route 903, as well as in the area beneath the bridge which is located on the Northeast Extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike (Interstate 476), nine miles south of the Pocono Interchange (Exit 95) and 13 miles north of the Mahoning Valley Interchange (Exit 74).
Beginning April 15, the contractor began clearing the adjacent right of way in preparation for embankment construction, installation of storm water management controls, and for utility relocation work. Message boards have been activated to alert motorists to be prepared for reduced speeds and short term, flagger controlled, single lane patterns, Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. during construction.
Long term traffic control devices will be installed on I-476 this week, and motorists traveling northbound and southbound on the Northeastern Extension should be prepared for slow moving traffic and nighttime single lane closures between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m. while construction crews place temporary concrete barriers to create a work zone under the overhead structure at milepost A87.
The Route 903 All-Electronic Interchange Project is wholly funded by toll revenues and is being built on a $22.4 million contract by New Enterprise Stone & Lime Co., Inc., of New Enterprise, PA. The contract was awarded in January 2013.
The All-Electronic Interchange Project will accept E-ZPass Only traffic in all four directions. This will be the Turnpike Commission's second four way AEI that will allow anyone with an E-ZPass account to get on or off I-476 in either direction, providing access to and from the many tourist and natural attractions this area has to offer. In December 2012, the Turnpike Commission opened the first E-ZPass Only Interchange on Interstate 76 and Route 29 in Chester County.
Construction on Phase 1 of the project began in the spring, and completion of construction of Phase 2 is scheduled for fall 2014. The new Interchange was designed to shorten travel times for commuters; help ease traffic congestion at neighboring interchanges and on local roads; and provide additional access to nearby recreational areas. The AEI is an unstaffed interchange built exclusively for use by E-ZPass customers.
Phase 1 was a design-build contract to construct one-half of a new bridge to carry Route 903 traffic over the Northeastern Extension. Phase 2 is a conventional construction contract and will include all remaining and necessary work to complete this new point of access. Additional work will include widening the existing Route 903 roadway to accommodate one northbound through lane, two southbound through lanes, and left turn lanes for traffic entering I-476 from Route 903.
For up-to-date information, see www.paturnpike.com/constructionprojects/Route_903_Slip_Ramp.