State lawmakers and officials gathered in Bensalem on Tuesday to break ground for stage one of a new $500 million project linking the Pennsylvania Turnpike to I-95.
“This interchange is just another example of the progress we’ve made over the last two years,” said Governor Tom Corbett, who attended the groundbreaking. “We’ve created more than 130,000 private-sector jobs, recovering more than 60 percent of the jobs lost during the recession. We cannot expand our economy without expanding our transportation system.”
With the linking of the two highways, Interstate 95 will officially become the nation’s longest north-south highway. Officials say the interchange will reduce congestion in Bucks County and improve the flow of traffic in the Philadelphia region as well as the entire east coast.
The project is located between the Bensalem Interchange (Exit 351) and the Delaware River Bridge in Bensalem and Bristol Townships. The project, set for completion in 2018, includes the following:
- Two new tolling facilities and high-speed connections linking the Turnpike and I-95
- Widening of the Pa. Turnpike Mainline
- Replacement of four bridges over I-95 and I-276
- Installation of an extensive transportation system
- Re-designation of the Pa. and NJ Turnpikes from I-276 to I-95 in the area
“Years in the making, this link will enhance mobility for thousands of commuters throughout the corridor, improving safety and convenience not only for Turnpike users but anyone else using the region’s roadway network,” said Turnpike Commissioner Pat Deon. “The new link will shorten travel times, help relieve overcrowding on local roads and at adjacent Turnpike interchanges and provide better access to growing corporate centers nearby.”
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According to officials, the project is funded by toll revenues and remaining federal interstate completion dollars dedicated to the project.