American Society of Highway Engineers (ASHE), Pittsburgh Chapter
The Pennsylvania Turnpike is recognized as the first American “superhighway.” With a design patterned after Germany’s 100-mph autobahns of the day, it officially entered service on October 1, 1940.
Initially started to cut the travel time between Harrisburg and Pittsburgh, the project limits were from Middlesex, located west of Harrisburg, to Irwin, east of Pittsburgh, a distance of 160 miles. Today’s turnpike has become a highway stretching 514 miles across the state and an integral part of the nation’s interstate system, which was begun in the 1950s under the Eisenhower Administration.
During the past 20 years, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) has turned to ms consultants for fast-tracked, comprehensive transportation studies and design engineering services. ms has helped the PTC maintain and improve the turnpike for the thousands of vehicles that use it each day.
ms first began working on Pennsylvania Turnpike projects in 1990 with the rehabilitation of two bridges in Fulton County, located in the south-central part of the state.
Since that time, the firm has provided comprehensive engineering services for various improvements to the turnpike and its tunnels, toll booths and bridge structures.
One of the largest projects ms has been involved in was the Mon-Fayette Expressway. This 17-mile, $475 million segment of toll road from I-70 in Washington County north to S.R. 51 in southern Allegheny County was completed on an expedited schedule requiring various technical disciplines. ms was responsible for numerous tasks, including the plan preparation of 11,300 feet of the expressway; 13,000 feet of ramps at a diamond interchange; 2,700 feet of side road construction; nine new bridges and culverts that included two dual mainline bridges and a prestressed concrete circular pipe; stormwater plans; erosion and sediment pollution control plans; highway lighting plans; pavement marking plans; and traffic control plans.
ms also worked as a subconsultant to the FIGG Engineering Group on the Allegheny River Bridge replacement project, a complex project that required highway, structure, traffic and environmental services.
The associated roadway approach work encompasses a 1.8 mile section of the Pennsylvania Turnpike mainline between milepost 47.2 and 49.0. This section is being widened to six lanes with minor realignment, phased such that traffic can be maintained at all times. Included in the proposed improvements is the reconfiguration of the Allegheny Valley Interchange ramps.
ms is also responsible for the design of the $113+ million total reconstruction of seven miles of turnpike mainline between milepost 31.0 and 38.0, which includes widening the existing 10-foot median to a 50-foot median to accommodate two additional lanes. Included in the widening effort are improvements to nonstandard horizontal and vertical curves and improvements for the eastern portion of the Warrendale Toll Plaza.
This project also encompassed the replacement of four overhead bridges and the replacement/widening of all mainline structures, retaining walls, stormwater management, drainage, traffic control for phased construction, right-of-way acquisition and construction services.
Another project is the I-95/I-276 Interchange project in Bucks County, PA. This section is part of a project undertaken by the PTC to make a direct connection between I-95 and I-276. This section is unique in that it is the only one within the project that is entirely outside the turnpike system, requiring coordination efforts with PennDOT Engineering District 6-0.