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Turnpike connects 276 with I-95 in Bucks County

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, along with its ground-transportation funding partners, celebrated on Friday 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 will directly connect the two highways beginning this weekend.

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 redesignated 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 N.J. Turnpike Connector, then on to the northbound N.J. at Turnpike Exit.

The project included construction of different elements needed to make this connection a reality. They included:

• 3 miles of new interchange flyovers and Interchange ramp reconstruction.

• 14 new bridges in addition to the multi-span flyover structures.

• 17 new interstate lane miles.

Southbound Interstate 95 traffic using the connector will pay a toll (in place on Interstate 276 nearly three years now) as they enter Pennsylvania from New Jersey. This highway-speed cashless tolling point at the Turnpike Bridge over the Delaware River was implemented in anticipation of the connector. Neither toll tickets nor cash are accepted.

E-ZPass motorists pay $5 for a two-axle (passenger) vehicle; non-E-ZPass motorists pay $6.75 for a two-axle (passenger) vehicle via Pa. Turnpike Toll by PLATE, a cashless system that takes a photo of the license plate and mails an invoice to the vehicle owner. For commercial operators, each additional axle will cost an additional $5 for E-ZPass motorists and an additional $6.75 for non-E-ZPass motorists.

Pennsylvania is one of seven states where tolls are not currently charged for vehicles traveling on Interstate 95. Six states — Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, New Hampshire and Maine — today charge all I-95 vehicles a toll, while two others (Florida and Virginia) offer optional, tolled express lanes to I-95 motorists.

A new span of highway connecting Interstates 95 and 276 (the Pennsylvania Turnpike) will open Monday in Bucks County. The U-shaped span is nicknamed a “flyover,” because motorists will be able to continue traveling at highway speeds. PHOTO PROVIDED