In recent years, PennDOT has replaced an increasing number of traditional intersections with roundabouts to improve safety and keep traffic moving more efficiently. Now, we see another significant safety and efficiency improvement with the advent of “Diverging Diamond Interchanges.”
Pennsylvania’s first is under construction in Washington County on I-70 between the junctions with I-79. It’s a $50 million project that can reduce the number and severity of accidents, according to PennDOT Secretary Leslie Richards.
Roundabouts often are greeted initially with public skepticism, but most members of the public seem to come around once they see that they are safe and simple to navigate. We suspect that will be the case with the new-style interchanges as well.
Act 89, the transportation funding measure enacted in 2013, was promoted as enabling Pennsylvania to provide safety improvements and relieve congestion. It’s good to see these types of projects moving forward.
Transportation Issue Update
- A “Diverging Diamond Interchange” project on I-70 is one of many significant improvements to safety and traffic flow being undertaken by PennDOT and highway builders. Be sure to check out the 6-minute PennDOT video near the bottom of the article at this link.
- All told, there are seven projects along a 32-mile stretch of I-70, and State Police will be enforcing the reduced speed limits in work zones.
- Several newspapers have published editorials calling for a halt to the diversion of transportation money to fund the State Police. The editorials followed stories across the Commonwealth that about half of the Pennsylvania’s approximately 2,500 municipalities receive “free” state police coverage instead of relying on local police
- The Turnpike will increase speed limits to 70 mph in all areas that are now 65 mph, and PennDOT will announce in May where it will allow 70 mph speed limits elsewhere
- The American Public Transportation Association issued a report suggesting that, rather than competing with public transportation, ride-sharing services such as Lyft and Uber can form mutually beneficial relationships with transit agencies.
Unsurprisingly, our friends at SEPTA are already reaching out to ride-sharing companies.
- “Smart” technologies that are driving ride and car-sharing are presenting a new challenge to transportation planners.
- NBC aired an investigative story detailing the deteriorating condition of many bridges across the country.
- PennDOT has awarded a contract to a firm that will design, build, operate and maintain 29 compressed natural gas filling stations, a move that ultimately could lead to getting more natural gas-powered vehicles on the road.
- Initial reports indicate that the annual pothole crop is much smaller this year compared with last throughout most of the Commonwealth.
- The Morning Call published an op-ed article detailing the relationship between freight railroads and Pennsylvania’s economy.