The purpose of the reconstruction project is to address the project needs and to improve overall roadway safety, access, and operations by providing geometry meeting current design criteria including adequate shoulders and improved ramp access (including acceleration/ deceleration lengths, ramp auxiliary lanes) throughout the project area. Five build alternatives (plus the No-Build and TSM alternatives) were developed for the project corridor in order to evaluate the effectiveness of each to meet the project needs.
Phase I Alternatives
Through several internal meetings, a number of highway improvement (build) alternatives were conceptualized and presented for consideration by the sponsoring agencies. As an outcome of the initial screening process, Alternatives 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D, and 1E were retained for study and public opinion. PENNDOT’s objective is to maintain two travel lanes in each direction during construction. Based upon the existing and proposed lane widths, traffic analyses, and the development of construction staging schemes, a six-lane section was warranted. Overall, each of the proposed highway improvement alternatives will generally follow the existing alignment and the proposed typical section consists of 3-12 foot lanes each way with a 26-foot median (including 12-foot inside shoulders) and flanking 12-foot outside shoulders.
The alternatives were compared for effectiveness in meeting the project need; the major points of comparison include:
- Environmental Impacts
- Community Impacts
- Constructability, Maintenance and Protection of Traffic and Staging
Based on the results of these evaluations, alternatives will be recommended for further investigation in the Phase II Alternatives Analysis.
The build alternatives meet the project’s Purpose and Needs to improve roadway geometry to current design standards, improve deteriorated roadway and bridges, provide system continuity, and accommodate future traffic volumes resulting in improved safety and traffic operations within the project area. Neither the No Build nor the TSM alternatives meet the Purpose and Needs. While TSM alternatives (when implemented alone or in combination) do not satisfy the project needs and are not considered a viable standalone alternative, Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) and Incident Management strategies discussed for the corridor offer significant improvements to roadway operations management and are beneficial from a safety and capacity standpoint, and should be considered for implementation as part of a selected alternative.
Phase II Alternatives
Through more detailed study, completion of several additional internal meetings, and based on feedback received at the first round of Open House meetings, the Phase I Alternatives were refined and based on a screening process, the alternatives reduced to Alternatives 2A, 2B, and 2D for further consideration by the sponsoring agencies and the public. Again, as with Phase I, each of the proposed highway improvement alternatives generally follow the existing alignment and the proposed typical section.