PennDOT

Transportation
4:32 pm
Mon December 1, 2014

PennDOT Asks For Feedback

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has released a draft of its long-range transportation plan and is asking for public feedback.

“This is a plan that looks far into the future to help set the vision and direction for where we want our transportation system to go,” said PennDOT spokeswoman Erin Waters-Trasatt. “So it goes beyond a list of projects or future enhancements. It looks at things like where we want to go as a whole.”

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Transportation
3:30 am
Mon November 17, 2014

After 5 Years of Reconstruction, Route 28 Reopens Monday

After five years of reconfiguration and reconstruction, PA Route 28 reopens completely Monday.

The five-phase project, which started in 2009, rebuilt the road from Millvale to the North Side and cost $106,360,957, according to PennDOT spokesman Steve Cowan.

“This project has been decades in the making,” he said. “The major features are grade separated interchanges rather than traffic signals at the intersections of the 31st and 40th Street bridges.”

He said removing the traffic lights should ease congestion along the roadway.

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Transportation
3:30 am
Mon November 3, 2014

PennDOT Pedestrian Bridge To Use PAT Funding

In 2011, 29 Port Authority (PAT) bus routes were eliminated due to lack of funding, and some residents are questioning why the 2015 Allegheny County budget allocates PAT funds to build a PennDOT pedestrian bridge, instead of working to reinstate the old bus routes.

In 2009 a court ruling stated that the drink and car rental taxes could only be used for PAT expenditures , yet the $1 million bridge will be paid for with those taxes and built by PennDOT.

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Transportation
3:06 pm
Mon October 27, 2014

Law Enforcement Targeting Aggressive Driving in Pittsburgh Region and Beyond

Starting now, law enforcement agencies across Pennsylvania will be targeting aggressive drivers. Each year, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation funds local efforts to crack down on behaviors such as speeding, tailgating and running red lights.

“Some people call it road rage, we call it aggressive driving,” said Juliann Sheldon, a PennDOT spokeswoman. “We see a vast number of accidents because of these road rage issues. By changing driver behavior, that will help to decrease the number of crashes and fatalities we see on our roadways.”

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Environment & Energy
10:13 am
Thu October 9, 2014

New Bridge Restores Greenspace Near Zoo

For the first time in decades Heth’s Run in Highland Park will soon reach the Allegheny River, and the change is as much due to a transportation project as it is an environmental effort. 

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Transportation
4:34 pm
Tue October 7, 2014

State Grants Carry Goal of Less Wasted Time at Red Lights

The state is hoping to partner with municipalities across the state to improve traffic signals that will lead not only to better traffic flow but also to added energy savings.

PennDOT will use Act 89 funds to support its “Green Light-Go” program.  The act sets aside $10 million for signal improvements in the current budget.

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Natural Gas
4:35 pm
Tue September 30, 2014

P3 Approves Compressed Natural Gas Fueling Stations

Pennsylvania’s Public-Private Partnership (P3) Board has approved a project to develop compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling stations at public transit agencies around the state with the expectation that the public would be able to access the fuel. 

Despite importing 75 percent of its natural gas just five years ago, Pennsylvania has become a net exporter of the fuel for the first time in more than 100 years.

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Transportation
4:35 pm
Fri September 19, 2014

Pennsylvania's Highways Ranked Among Worst In Nation

Pennsylvania’s highways among the worst in the nation, according to a report released Thursday by a Los Angeles nonprofit.

The commonwealth has dropped from 40th to 41st in “overall highway performance and cost effectiveness,” according to the Reason Foundation’s 21st annual highway report.

David Hartgen, lead researcher and professor of transportation studies at the University of North Carolina, said the state’s high percentage of deficient bridges, narrow rural lanes and a high fatality rate has caused its rankings to slip.

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Transportation
9:54 am
Wed September 10, 2014

PennDOT’s First Public-Private Effort Hits The Road

The state is rolling out its first public-private partnership since a 2012 law allowed such joint efforts for transportation infrastructure and services.

A nearly 20-year-old highway safety truck service now has a private sponsor in State Farm, which is paying 11 percent of the annual $4 million cost for the roving patrols on highways in and around Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, the Lehigh Valley and Harrisburg.

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Transportation
3:30 am
Mon August 4, 2014

Get Ready for Another Liberty Tunnel Shutdown

A view from inside the inbound Liberty Tunnel during construction last summer.
Credit File photo / Ryan Loew / 90.5 WESA

Ten days after the outbound Liberty Tunnel opened after a 16-day round-the-clock closure, PennDOT will close the inbound tunnel 24/7 for 17 days starting Tuesday at 8 pm.

PennDOT spokesman Steve Cowan said that like the recent work done on the outbound tunnel, the inbound tunnel will be painted.

"This allows a surface that allows crews to clean the inside of the tunnel,” he said.

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Transportation
11:53 am
Fri July 11, 2014

Outbound Liberty Tunnel To Close Starting Friday Evening

On a daily basis, 18,500 vehicles travel through the outbound Liberty Tunnel. Effective at 8 p.m. Friday, motorists will need to find a new way to the South Hills.

PennDOT is closing the outbound tunnel around-the-clock through 6 a.m. Monday July 28.

Crews will prepare the tunnel walls so they can be painted and complete work that was halted in December.

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Transportation
2:34 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

Parkway West Construction Gets Underway

As PennDOT nears completion on the two-year long, $49 million rehabilitation of the Squirrel Hill Tunnels next month, it’s beginning work Wednesday evening on the first of three Parkway West (I-376) projects.

One outbound lane will be closed as workers install traffic control signs Wednesday and Thursday from midnight until 5 a.m.

This first project involves construction of a fourth outbound lane, about a mile long, from Rosslyn Farms to I-79. PennDOT spokesman Steve Cowan said he expects this part of the $3.72 million project to be completed by the spring.

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Essential Pittsburgh
9:10 pm
Wed June 18, 2014

Turnpike Tolls on the Rise For the Foreseeable Future

The Pennsylvania Turnpike tolls are increasing for the seventh time since 2007.
Credit MPD01605 / Flickr

The PA Turnpike Commission has approved a toll increase set to begin in 2015. This is the seventh rate increase since Act 44 of 2007.  It is also the first time since 2011, EZ Pass rates have gone up. What do these toll rate changes mean for the future of the turnpike?

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Transportation
3:30 am
Mon May 26, 2014

Precautions In Place To Protect Electronic Roadside Signs, PennDOT Says

PennDOT says it has taken precautions to protect electronic roadside signs from pranksters seeking to change the message.

Numerous sign hacks have appeared across the country for years, drawing attention to security shortcomings.

But a spokeswoman for PennDOT says the state’s electronic signs and highway advisory radios are protected with passwords as well as physical locking systems.

Chuck Davis, who teaches ethical hacking and computer forensics at Harrisburg University, said that’s probably adequate.

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Essential Pittsburgh
5:44 pm
Tue May 13, 2014

After 20 Years, PennDOT Evaluates Problems With the Parkway East

Traffic backups are a common occurrence in the Squirrel Hill Tunnel. PennDOT is looking for input on how to improve traffic conditions.
Credit Flickr user daveynin

Negotiating the roads around Pittsburgh isn’t easy. For a long time, one area of contention has been I-376 East.

So the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is now asking for public feedback on traffic conditions for the route known as the Parkway East. PennDOT District 11 Executive, Dan Cessna said this is the department’s first evaluation for the Parkway East in 20 years.

Cessna pointed out how infrastructure and safety impact Parkway traffic flow on a daily basis.  

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Transportation
3:30 am
Mon May 12, 2014

PennDOT Wants More Input On Parkway East's Future

PennDOT wants to know what you think should be done to the Parkway East to reduce congestion and lower the number of accidents seen each year.

“We’re only going to look at things that would be something we can afford,” said PennDOT Dist. 11 Executive Dan Cessna. 

Ideas such as removing the Squirrel Hill Tunnel or completely reconfigure the highway will not be considered.

“These are affordable changes that could be done at the interchanges, to the networks of the traffic signal systems, other modifications to the lanes,” Cessna said.

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Transportation
3:08 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

East Liberty Transit Station Gets Additional Financial Boost from State

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, Governor Tom Corbett, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, Congressman Mike Doyle and Developer Steve Mosites break ground on another phase of the construction of the East Liberty Transit Center.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

A groundbreaking ceremony in East Liberty Tuesday brought together federal, state and local elected officials, from both parties, to tout continued investment in the area.

Gov. Tom Corbett announced an additional $5 million investment in the next phase of improvements to the East Liberty transit station; the funding comes from the transportation bill passed last year.

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Transportation
3:30 am
Mon March 31, 2014

No April Fool’s Joke: PennDOT Fee Increases To Take Effect Starting Tuesday

Starting Tuesday, an initial wave of fee increases for motor vehicle and driver services will go into effect.

The higher fees were part of the transportation law that passed last year, which allots $2.35 billion to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to roads, bridges and transit systems. That price tag is being paid for, in part, by an increase in gasoline taxes and higher vehicle service fees.

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Public Safety
3:29 pm
Fri March 14, 2014

St. Patrick’s Day DUI Enforcement Going Full Force

State and local police will be conducing DUI checkpoints and roving patrols Saturday, following Pittsburgh's St. Patrick's Day Parade. The PA DUI Association reminds revelers that the amount of alcohol consumed can vary vastly by drinking, they said a Long Island iced tea can count as five alcoholic beverages.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

St. Patrick’s Day is Monday,, but the Steel City’s celebration will take place Saturday, starting with a parade and continuing with partying and revelry throughout the city.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has announced a joint DUI enforcement effort with the Pennsylvania DUI Association, the PA Liquor Control Board and local law enforcement.

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Essential Pittsburgh
6:59 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

Making Sense of Pittsburgh's Nonsensical Roads

An aerial view of Pittsburgh
Credit Phil Quinn / wikipedia

Pittsburgh’s topography is pretty unique as far as cities go. It's essentially a peninsula surrounded by mountains. And with the city's numerous bridges and triangular shape, facilitating efficient traffic patterns has long been a challenge for the region.

Pittsburgher Phil Anderson runs the popular blog The Nonsensical Roads of Pittsburgh, where he records his observations about bizarre traffic and road layouts. He's driven in cities throughout the world and seems to find Pittsburgh infrastructure both amusing and frustrating.

“You have stages of driving on Pittsburgh roads," he said. "There’s anger, grief, and eventually you have acceptance.”

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Government & Politics
8:03 am
Thu February 27, 2014

PennDOT Chief: Winter Weather Has Wiped Out Road Maintenance Budget

The PennDOT secretary says his annual funding allocation for winter road maintenance has been wiped out by the harsh winter weather.

Barry Schoch says his agency is already about 11 million dollars over budget for the season.

He said frigid temperatures, snow and ice, along with underinvestment in road paving, has led to more and more potholes.

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Tunnel Ice
4:56 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Ice Delays Squirrel Hill Tunnel Traffic

Motorists using the westbound Squirrel Hill Tunnel along the Parkway East (I-376) have been dealing with delays due to a buildup of ice. Steve Cowan Press Officer for PennDOT District 11 says the inbound tunnel has a water flow problem, and in the winter, when temperatures get below freezing, this leads to the temporary shutdown of the tunnel so workers can melt the ice.

Cowan says that a contractor is looking at a way to fix the water leak problem, but he’s is not sure when that will be completed.

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Transportation
12:56 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

Pittsburgh Continues to Struggle with Salt Supply

The city of Pittsburgh could see as much as 4 inches of snow Monday night, according to the National Weather Service, and city officials are worried salt supplies won’t keep up.

The city is expected to receive a 500-ton shipment of rock salt Monday and Tuesday from its supplier, American Rock Salt. This morning, the city had less than 100 tons of salt.

Chief Operations Officer Guy Costa said the city uses between 800 and 1,000 tons of rock salt for every inch of snow on the roads.

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Transportation
10:36 am
Wed February 5, 2014

Ice Storm Causes Chaos For Pittsburgh Commuters

Icicles form on a parked car in Oakland.
Credit Michael Lynch / 90.5 WESA

Update: 11:35 a.m.

The Port Authority of Allegheny County is reporting that as of 11:30 a.m. light rail service has been restored to all lines. Riders should still anticipate 10 to 15 minute delays as the Port Authority works to restore its regular schedule.

Bus shuttles that have been providing service for Blue Line-Library riders will end at noon. 

Update: 11:11 a.m.

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Public Safety
1:25 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

PennDOT Shells Out Road Salt to Help Municipalities Running Short

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation says it's supplied about 6,000 tons of road salt to municipalities that have run short this winter.

The highway department said Monday its salt stock stood at about 382,000 tons, with some 145,000 tons still to be delivered.

In an average winter, PennDOT goes through about 800,000 tons, but this year's series of storms has the department going through road salt more quickly than usual.

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Parkway East
4:17 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

How Should Parkway East Change? PennDOT Wants You to Decide

Given the chance, what would you change about your morning drive on the Parkway East? 

Victor DeFazio, PennDOT Project Manager, said that’s the question the department is asking commuters in a survey released this week.

“What we’re trying to do is understand what is going on out there and what are some of the ideas that we can do to improve travel in the entire corridor,” DeFazio said. “Not just on Interstate 376, but even on the parallel and access routes as well.”

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Road Construction
3:30 pm
Tue December 31, 2013

Pittsburghers: Prepare for Lots of Orange Barrels in 2014

Credit Flickr user dno1967b

The new year will bring the end of two multi-year construction projects, the beginning of a couple of others, and tapping additional funds from the recently passed transportation bill for some bridge work.

Route 28

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Transportation
3:30 am
Mon December 30, 2013

Speed Limits Could Increase to 70 MPH on Some PA Highways

The maximum speed limit for certain Pennsylvania roads is going up by 5 miles per hour due to a small change to a big new state law. But the more lenient limits might take a while to arrive.  

Motorists hoping for a faster trip home got their wish when lawmakers increased the maximum speed limit in Pennsylvania from 65 miles per hour to 70 miles per hour. The change was included in the $2.3 billion transportation funding bill signed into law last month.

But PennDOT Secretary Barry Schoch said don’t expect the higher speed limit to become the new norm.

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Transportation
3:30 am
Fri November 29, 2013

With Funding Plan in Place, PennDOT Reconsidering Weight Restrictions for Bridges

PennDOT is reconsidering the weight restrictions placed on structurally deficient bridges in August.

The restrictions came as a result of the Legislature’s failure to approve additional transportation funding over the summer.

But with a funding plan now in place for road and bridge work, PennDOT spokeswoman Erin Waters-Trasatt says the department can start re-evaluating bridge postings.

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Transportation
4:12 am
Mon October 28, 2013

In Transportation Funding Debate, Iconic Liberty Bridge a Political Football

The Liberty Bridge carries an estimated 54,000 (corrected from the 1,600 posted earlier) vehicles a day between downtown and the South Hills. And, of some 4,500 Pennsylvania bridges rated structurally deficient, it’s among the most visible.
Credit joseph a / Flickr

    

City of Bridges: The following report is the first is a three-part series examining the status of Pittsburgh bridges as the Pennsylvania Legislature considers funding for transportation infrastructure.

The Pittsburgh area is home to hundreds of bridges — by some counts, more than any city in the world.

It also has a higher percentage of structurally deficient bridges than any other U.S. city. If your goal is to highlight the problem, one in particular makes a pretty good backdrop.

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