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I-95 and PA Tunpike linked, more construction coming

By James McGinnis

Bucks County Courier Times

 

Completed this week, phase one of the project cost $450 million, officials said. Future phases could cost at least $1.2 billion, estimated Pat Deon, chairman of the Pennsylvania Turnpike commission.

 

The road has been long and the journey is far from over.

 

On Friday, federal, state and local lawmakers cut a ceremonial ribbon on the new Interstate 95/Pennsylvania Turnpike interchange, the first phase of a massive project that could eventually cost taxpayers as much as $2 billion.

 

Sometime this weekend, crews will put the finishing touches on two, multi-story highway flyovers — each one longer than seven football fields — soaring above Bristol Township and allowing interstate drivers to go from Maine to Florida without ever leaving the highway save for the occasional bathroom break.

 

Work so far has cost $450 million in state and federal taxes, officials said.

 

Future work on the I-95/Turnpike project could exceed $1.2 billion, said Pat Deon, chairman of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, on Friday.

 

Phases two and three include the construction of a new bridge at the Delaware River between Bristol Township and Burlington, a widening of the turnpike through Bensalem and Bristol Township, the demolition and replacement of an exit ramp and road bridge at Route 13, and the widening of ramps at the Bensalem/Route 1 interchange.

 

Asked about those future plans, U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-8, of Middletown, said the work must be done. “This road carries 40 percent of our nation’s gross domestic project,” Fitzpatrick said.

 

Photos: Pennsylvania Turnpike, I-95 interchange opening this weekend

State Sen. Tommy Tomlinson, R-6, of Bensalem, said he believed much of the proposed work would be completed. “Stage two is going to happen,” Tomlinson said. “Stage three — the (Delaware River) bridge — that may happen, but probably not in my lifetime.”

 

History is on his side with that prediction, given how long it took to get to Friday’s ribbon-cutting on the long envisioned link between the highways.

 

Gasoline was 30 cents a gallon in the 1960s when crews were putting the finishing touches on I-95, a highway that was supposed to run uninterrupted along the East Coast. At that time, federal laws prohibited the Federal Highway Administration from connecting with toll roads such as the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

 

 

 

 

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