Pennsylvania Turnpike expands


By Vaishnavi Sriadibhatla, Staff Reporter

2.4 million vehicles use the 360-mile PA Turnpike annually. Its popularity stems from its ability to connect many densely-populated cities such as Pittsburgh, Harrisburg and Philadelphia.

The turnpike also proves to be one of the most efficient routes when traveling out of state, as it connects to the turnpikes of neighboring states New Jersey and Ohio. However, its popularity does come with several setbacks including large traffic jams, a lengthy commute and a growing concern about possible accidents.

T/E parent and resident Pooja Arora uses the turnpike frequently to New Jersey and has experienced the setbacks.
“Recently I have seen a steep increase in traffic, especially after COVID-19 with everybody coming into the workplace again. Often an additional 20 to 30 minutes are added onto my commute just because of the traffic,” Arora said.

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, an organization that has been in place since 1937, embarked upon a $117.8 million expansion project to combat the traffic. Spanning a two mile stretch of land, the project aims to widen the most used section of the turnpike between the Valley Forge Plaza and the Valley Forge Interchange — or mileposts 324 to 326, respectively.

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission plans on expanding the section by adding two additional lanes, expanding the turnpike from four to six lanes. Additionally, there are plans to reconstruct and improve a bridge currently located on this stretch of land between U.S. 422 and North Gulph Road. T/E parent and resident Theresa Madden-Pope has been using the turnpike for over 30 years and is looking forward to the changes the project will bring.

“The new project sounds extensive and expensive but is very needed,” Madden-Pope said.

Several frequently-used roads in the T/E area will close during various times of the year to aid in the completion of this project. Some include Glenhardie Road, Richards Road and North Gulph Road. Glenhardie and Richards Road are both closed until July.

By undertaking this project, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission aims to decrease the amount of traffic on the turnpike and increase the overall safety of the highway. It estimates that it will complete the expansion by 2025.

“I think that the trade-offs are going to be beneficial in the long term,” Arora said. “With the new expansion projects, people’s commutes in the morning and afternoon are going to get significantly shorter.”

Vaishnavi Sriadibhatla can be reached at [email protected].