Pennsylvania Turnpike/Interstate 95 Interchange Project

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highway_name=Pennsylvania Turnpike/Interstate 95 Interchange Project
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The Pennsylvania Turnpike/Interstate 95 Interchange Project is a project to build an interchange where Interstate 95 crosses the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Bristol Township, Pennsylvania. This will fill the gap that exists on I-95 through New Jersey due to the cancellation of the Somerset Freeway. The project also includes widening the Turnpike east of U.S. Route 1 and rebuilding the Delaware River-Turnpike Toll Bridge, which connects Bristol Township, Pennsylvania and Burlington Township, New Jersey.

Construction is expected to start in early 2009 and will cost approximately US$650 million. When completed, this will allow I-95 to be a continuous route between Philadelphia and New York City and finally complete the highway from Maine to Florida.

History

Background

As far back as the formation of the Interstate Highway System, I-95 was planned as a Maine-to-Florida superhighway. The highway was also intended to pass through the northeast BosWash megalopolis. However, decades of disputes among local and regional governments and private landowners prevented or delayed the design and construction of this highway from the Trenton/Philadelphia area to northern New Jersey in the New Brunswick/Piscataway area. To this day, I-95 is incomplete because of the gap in this area. Specifically, if drivers wish to proceed northbound from Wilmington, Delaware to New York City without encountering a traffic signal, the most direct route today is to exit I-95 onto I-295 south of Wilmington, enter New Jersey via the Delaware Memorial Bridge, and continue north on the New Jersey Turnpike. Alternatively, if drivers stayed on I-95 north, they would pass through Philadelphia into Bucks County, Pennsylvania and over the Delaware River into Mercer County, New Jersey northwest of Trenton. At this point, I-95 abruptly ends at the interchange of U.S. Route 1 in Lawrence Township and becomes I-295 south. Motorists then enter I-195 eastbound from I-295 exit 60A, and then take I-195 to the New Jersey Turnpike northbound. According to the New Jersey Turnpike Authority, the turnpike is signed as I-95 in the area of Robbinsville Township north of Turnpike Exit 7A (for I-195).

Earliest designs

During the mid 1950s, while I-95 was still in its infancy, a proposal was made to route it through the city of Trenton by way of the Trenton Toll Bridge (now in use and designated to U.S. 1). [ [http://www.nycroads.com/roads/I-95_NJ/ Interstate 95 (Trenton Section) ] ] New Jersey opposed this routing due to the limited capacity of that bridge. A proposal to bypass and loop around Trenton was formally proposed and agreed-upon by both states in the late 50s. What was eventually called the Scudder Falls Bridge was constructed in 1959. Completed soon afterward was a section of I-95 north of Trenton. Plans then began in the mid-sixties to join this segment to I-287 in northern New Jersey. This controversial section of I-95 became known as the Somerset Freeway. Though by 1978, doubts were expressed that I-95 would ever be completed. [Waldron, Martin. [http://select.nytimes.com/mem/archive/pdf?res=F70615F93D5513728DDDA00994DB405B888BF1D3 "Caution! Some Roads Lead Nowhere"] , "The New York Times", March 19, 1978. Accessed September 19, 2007.]

omerset Freeway

The Somerset Freeway was planned to run from existing I-95 north of Trenton northeast to Interstate 287 west of Perth Amboy, and was to carry I-95 towards the New Jersey Turnpike. The project was cancelled in 1982 for primarily two reasons. First, residents along the Princeton corridor feared increased congestion and a drop in property values. Second, the state of New Jersey feared a drop in state revenues by diverting traffic from the NJ Turnpike. A 1980 article in "The New York Times" stated:

Killing I-95 means that the entire length of the turnpike almost surely will become the official I-95 artery through the state, thus assuring it a continued source of toll revenue. At present, only that segment of the turnpike north of Exit 10 in Middlesex County is designated as I-95. [Sullivan, Ronald. [http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20D16FE395F12728DDDAD0894DD405B8084F1D3&scp=1&sq=interstate+95&st=p "The Killing of I-95:; Too Much Too Late"] , "The New York Times", May 4, 1980. Accessed August 6, 2008.]
As a result I-95 was later rerouted south on the NJ Turnpike to Exit 6, and onto its Pennsylvania Extension to end at the state line.

Plans are finalized

Renewed hope of bridging the gap emerged in 1982, when the Federal Surface Transportation Assistance Act decreed that I-95 be completed through a PA Turnpike/I-95 interchange which would connect to the NJ Turnpike using the Delaware River Turnpike Bridge. [ [http://www.paturnpikei95.com/history1.htm PA Turnpike / I-95 Interchange Project ] ] An impact study was then conducted by the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission between 1992 and 2003. Details were hashed out during the design sessions that took place from 2004 to 2006. One of the last pieces of the puzzle was the question of what would become of the existing section of I-95 north of the interchange (extended several miles in 1995). The Design Advisory Committee determined that in order to avoid confusion, that segment would become an extension of Interstate 195 (originally Interstate 295) when the interchange is completed, [ [http://www.paturnpikei95.com/pdf/DACMeeting050914.pdf Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission I-95/I-276 Interchange Project Meeting Design Management Summary - DRAFT: Design Advisory Committee Meeting #2] ] and the part of Interstate 276 east of the interchange will become part of Interstate 95.

Design and construction

The approved design calls for a multi-phased construction to begin in the first half of 2009 and end some time in 2014. The first two phases consist of the development of a single-loop interchange at the point where the PA Turnpike (I-276) and I-95 meet in Bristol Township. In order to accommodate the projected high traffic volume, a new tollbooth will be built approximately two miles west of the interchange, terminating the toll ticket part of the turnpike system. The current tollbooth at the Delaware River bridge will still exist, but its purpose will be to collect a flat-rate toll for westbound traffic only. This phase also calls for the widening of the Turnpike between Exits 351 (U.S. Route 1) and 358 (U.S. Route 13) from 4 lanes to 6.The third and final phase will consist of the building of a second bridge across the Delaware River, adjacent to the current one, that will allow eastbound and westbound traffic to solely utilize separate bridge spans. In this respect, the design is similar to that of the Delaware Memorial Bridge.

Changes in route designation

Once construction is completed, signage will be changed for affected highways. The changes are outlined as follows:

ee also

*Interstate 95 in New Jersey

References

External links

* [http://www.paturnpikei95.com/home.htm PA Turnpike/I-95 Interchange]


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