Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) leaders and elected officials this morning marked the start of a major project to rebuild and widen the busiest section of the Northeastern Extension in Montgomery County. Officials broke ground on the $198 million project to completely reconstruct a 5-mile section of I-476 from milepost A26 to milepost A31 and expand the highway from four to six lanes.
“This stretch of I-476 between Mid-County and the Lansdale interchange is the busiest four-lane section of highway across the entire turnpike system, with average traffic exceeding 65,500 vehicles per day,” PTC CEO Mark Compton said. “What’s more, traffic volumes are expected to surpass 100,000 vehicles per day by the year 2030, so this improvement project is vitally needed to accommodate increasing traffic.”
The project includes the area just south of Berks Road and just north of the Lansdale interchange and traverses Worcester, Upper Gwynedd, Towamencin and Lower Salford townships.
The project—funded wholly by toll revenues without any state or federal tax dollars—is being built by Allan A. Myers (AAM) of Worcester, Pa.
Work is expected to last two and a half years until its anticipated completion in late 2016.
To help alleviate congestion at the toll plaza and on local connections around the Lansdale interchange, three new on/off ramps will be constructed as part of the project. These new slip ramps, two of which will be E-ZPass-only ramps, will provide new options to access I-476. The E-ZPass-only ramps allow motorists to connect to I-476 directly, avoiding the toll-plaza area altogether. Last year more than 10 million vehicles used the Lansdale interchange.
During construction, the Turnpike will take steps to ensure that disruptions and delays are kept to a minimum. Four lanes will be available most of the time, with single-lane closures limited to off-peak hours. In later phases, the contractor will need to implement intermittent stoppages or detours, but such work is restricted to off-peak hours and early Sunday mornings.