PennDOT Urges Caution in Work Zones 

Recent crashes put workers, motorists at risk

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) is reminding motorists to drive safely in work zones after there have been several incidents of work zone intrusions resulting in motorists hitting PennDOT employees or equipment.
 
The most recent crash occurred on June 5, 2022, when a PennDOT employee was struck by a motorist while working on a bridge resurfacing project in Allegheny County. The employee suffered injuries requiring medical attention and transportation to a hospital.
 
“Work zones may be a temporary inconvenience, but these workers all deserve to get home safely,” said PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian. “Please slow down and never drive distracted, especially in work zones where roadway conditions can change every day.”
 
According to PennDOT data, in 2021 there were 1,649 work zone crashes, resulting in 16 fatalities. Additionally, since 1970, PennDOT has lost 90 workers in the line of duty.
 
In addition to crash data from police reports, PennDOT monitors work zone safety with internal reports. From January 1, 2020, to June 7, 2022, there have been 300 reported intrusions in PennDOT work zones. Of those work zone intrusions, 31 resulted in injuries to PennDOT employees, 66 caused damage to PennDOT equipment or vehicles only, and 203 did not result in injury or damage but had the potential to do so.
 
In Pennsylvania, there are two distinct programs related to active work zones. Under Title 75, Section 3326, motorists caught by police driving 11 mph or more above the posted speed limit in an active work zone, or who are involved in a crash in an active work zone and are convicted for failing to drive at a safe speed, automatically lose their license for 15 days. Additionally, fines for certain traffic violations — including speeding, driving under the influence, and failure to obey traffic devices — are doubled for active work zones. The law also provides for up to five years of additional jail time for individuals convicted of homicide by vehicle for a crash that occurred in an active work zone.
 
Under Title 75, Section 3369, fines are allowed to be administered through the Automated Work Zone Speed Enforcement (AWZSE) program. Pennsylvania’s AWZSE program, first implemented in March 2020, uses vehicle-mounted systems to detect and record motorists exceeding posted work zone speed limits by 11 miles per hour or more using electronic speed timing devices. AWZSE systems are only operational in active work zones where workers are present. Work Zones that have an AWZSE system present and active will have unique signs in advance of the enforcement area, alerting drivers to the upcoming enforcement. Registered owners receive a warning letter for a first offense, a violation notice and $75 fine for a second offense, and a violation notice and $150 fine for third and subsequent offenses. These violations are civil penalties only; no points are assessed to driver’s licenses.
 
For more information on work zone safety visit, www.PennDOT.pa.gov/Safety.
 
For more information on the Automated Work Zone Speed Enforcement program, including a list of projects where the units are deployed, visit https://workzonecameras.penndot.gov.
 
Photos and videos are available online at PAcast.com.

Traffic Shift Marks Completion of First Phase of Northbound U.S. 1 Improvements in Bensalem

Northbound U.S. 1 traffic will shift onto the newly reconstructed northbound lanes between Old Lincoln Highway and Rockhill Drive Monday night, February 3, marking the completion of the first major phase of a project to reconstruct, widen and improve a 1.3-mile section of the highway in Bensalem Township, Bucks County, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) announced today.

Following the Monday night shift, crews will work the remainder of the week to adjust concrete construction barriers and begin reconstruction of the middle section on U.S. 1 — including demolition and replacement of the middle section of U.S. 1 bridges over Street Road (Route 132), the Pennsylvania Turnpike and the ramps to the Turnpike Toll Plaza — the second major phase of the project.

Periodic lane closures will be in place on Sunday, February 2, through Friday, February 7, from 9:00 PM to 5:00 AM the following morning for construction activities on:

  • Northbound and southbound U.S. 1 between Old Lincoln Highway and Rockhill Drive;
  • Eastbound or westbound Street Road (Route 132) between Old Lincoln Highway and Kingston Way; and
  • Bristol Road between Old Lincoln Highway and Belmont Avenue, where flaggers will direct an alternating lane of traffic through the work area for the early stages of construction to replace the bridge over U.S.1.

Motorists are advised to allow extra time when traveling through the work areas because backups and slowdowns will occur. All scheduled activities are weather permitting.

Under construction that began in late 2018 under Section RC1, PennDOT has:

  • Removed and replaced the northbound pavement on U.S. 1 between Old Lincoln Highway and Rockhill Drive;
  • Replaced the northbound side of U.S. 1 bridges over Street Road (Route 132), the Pennsylvania Turnpike, and the Turnpike ramps;
  • Began reconstruction of the U.S. 1/Street Road (Route 132) interchange;
  • Began construction of new ramps to and from northbound U.S. 1 and the Turnpike Toll Plaza;
  • Installed new stormwater basins, pipes and inlets;
  • Relocated sanitary sewer and water lines on U.S. 1;
  • Reconstructed eastbound Street Road (Route 132) at the U.S. 1 Interchange; and
  • Started preliminary work to replace the Bristol Road bridge over U.S. 1.

RC1 is the first of three construction contracts to rebuild and widen U.S. 1; replace aging bridges; and install safety enhancements along a four-mile section of the expressway from just north of Philadelphia to just north of Route 413 (Pine Street) in Middletown Township and Langhorne Borough.