Pennsylvania DOT (PennDOT) announced today that in accordance with Gov. 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," Acting PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian said in a statement. "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 Gov. 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 jobsite 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.