Category Archives: Construction News

Florida’s Turnpike Opens New Interchange

Minneola And Clermont Gain New Access To Sunshine State Parkway

A new interchange is slated to open June 10 on the northern leg of Florida’s Turnpike near mile 278, officials with Florida’s Department of Transportation have announced. The new “Minneola Interchange” is already a common site for regular drivers of the turnpike, as lane closures and adjustments have been made over the past year to accommodate construction of the new ramps. The exit number will be 278.

Minneola Interchange, looking west on Hancock Road

An aerial view of the Minneola Interchange on Florida’s Turnpike, taken in March 2017, looking west over the turnpike along Hancock Road. Photo: Florida DOT.

The interchange will be an all-electronic one, which is to say no cash will be accepted at the tolls, which will be collected only on the southbound entrance and northbound exit ramps. Florida’s Turnpike is in the process of converting to an all-electronic system, but completion is still several years away.

The junction will give nearly direct access to the town of Minneola, which sits just west of the turnpike, and north of Clermont, a western suburb of Orlando. Drivers exiting the turnpike will find themselves on Hancock Road in Minneola, with access to Hancock Road, which is being completed to connect towns on the north and east of the turnpike, on the west shore of Lake Apopka, to those on the south and west, including Minneola and Clermont.

The opening of the interchange will be heralded locally with a community celebration by the city of Minneola, as well as a 5K run to honor Christa Deason, and FDOT employee city officials say was instrumental in bringing the interchange project to fruition. Following the run, the ribbon-cutton for the new interchange is expected to happen around 9:30 a.m., at which time the ramps will be opened for traffic.

A satellite view of the new Minneola Interchange, from Google Earth, taken on March 17, 2017, shows the entrance and exit ramps nearly complete, with the electronic toll gantries already installed on the northbound exit ramp and southbound entrance ramp. Photo: Google Earth.

The cost of the project was funded in part by private developers, including Family Dynamics Land Company, LLC, which donated all the land for the project, and Minneola Mountain Properties Community Redevelopment Area, which raised funds for the construction of the interchange, itself, according to the FDOT.

The completion of Hancock Road, which was an integral part of the interchange project, was funded by both Family Dynamics and by the government of Lake County, where the interchange is located.

“Monumental” Interchange Project Moves Forward As First New Ramp Opens

New Innovation Way Interchange Replacing Monument Parkway Junction East Of Orlando

New onramp for Beachline Expressway in Florida

The Beachline Expressway begins getting a replacement interchange this weekend as authorities open the first ramp of the new Innovation Parkway junction.

The first ramp of a revised interchange system on Florida’s Beachline Expressway will open Friday, March 31, the Central Florida Expressway Authority has announced. The new ramp will route traffic directly from the southbound lanes of Innovation Way to the westbound lanes of the State Road 528, which is the Beachline.

“Motorists traveling south on Innovation Way will be able to access the new ramp directly instead of following the existing configuration through Monument Parkway,” officials announced in a written release. Authorities said the old southbound ramp, from Monument Parkway, will close as the new ramp opens this weekend. Monument Parkway becomes International Corporate Park Boulevard south of the Beachline Expressway.

The Innovation Way interchange, about nine miles east of Orlando International Airport, will replace the Monument Parkway/ICP interchange completely by early 2018. The interchange is being updated to accommodate new development in the area, which includes a new intrastate commuter rail system, All Aboard Florida.

Detour signs will be available to guide drivers on Monument Parkway, officials said. “Motorists traveling on Monument Parkway and ICP Boulevard will be directed to head north to Innovation Way to access the new ramp,” officials wrote.

Florida’s Turnpike Closing Overnight For One Week

North Section Of Turnpike Being Modified To Accommodate More Traffic

A five-mile stretch of Florida’s Turnpike will be closing overnight starting Monday, March 13, 2017 and continuing through Friday, March 17, 2017, officials with Florida’s Department of Transportation have announced. The closures will be in effect for a four-hour period each morning, from about 12:30 a.m. until 4:30 a.m., authorities said in a written release.

The closures are necessary, officials said, to accommodate road-widening and resurfacing along that stretch of the Turnpike, through Wildwood. Additional improvements will also improve traffic flow at the I-75 interchange with Florida’s Turnpike, officials announced.

Detours During Turnpike Closure

Path of detour on Florida's Turnpike
Drivers who want to get onto Florida’s Turnpike southbound from I-75 will have to exit I-75 at Florida’s State Road 44, then travel east to U.S. 301. From U.S. 301, drivers can travel southbound to the entrance of Florida’s Turnpike.

Drivers who are traveling north on Florida’s Turnpike will follow the same detour, but in the opposite direction. Drivers will be detoured off the turnpike at Exit 304, then turned north on U.S. 301 to Florida State Road 44. Drivers will then be detoured west on SR 44 to I-75.

Delaware River Bridge To Remain Closed Two Months

Officials Announce April Reopening, But Only If “Best Case Scenario” Prevails

The Delaware River Bridge, which connects the New Jersey Turnpike and the Pennsylvania Turnpike, is slated to remain closed at least another eight weeks, officials announced Friday. The bridge was shut to civilian traffic on Friday, January 20 when a large crack was discovered in a support truss. The decision to keep the bridge closed was made by a joint engineering task force being co-led by the New Jersey Turnpike Authority and the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission. The agencies jointly own and manage the DRB.

Jacking And Realigning Bridge To Take At Least One Month

Crack in Delaware River Bridge

Weight loads shifted considerably, officials say, when this crack opened in a support truss of the DRB, which has been closed to traffic since January 20, 2017. The bridge now must be realigned before the fracture can be repaired.

That means the next several weeks will be devoted to installing temporary towers and hydraulic jacks to realign the bridge. The groundwork for the jacking towers began last week, authorities said. Steel-pipe pilings are being installed underground, according to officials, that will support 80-foot towers. Those towers will be carefully jacked into position to realign the bridge, but that will not happen until early March, at least, according to authorities.

However, officials admit they do not know whether the rest of the bridge can support a regular traffic flow, and authorities said they will not be able to determine that until the jacking process is completed.

“The goal of the jacking operation is to return the bridge to its original position and allow us to complete a permanent splice of the fracture,” said Brad Heigel, Chief Engineer for the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission. “As the jacking operation occurs, and load is transferred within the bridge, instrumentation will monitor the actual loads, stresses and displacements, which will be compared to estimated outcomes from computer models.”

Agency Heads Say They Hope For “Best Case Scenario”, But Sound Cautionary Tone

“Under the best case scenario, the bridge will return to its original position and the construction team will be able to install a permanent repair splice on the fractured steel member,” officials with the New Jersey Turnpike Authority wrote in a prepared statement. “It is possible, however, that the process will reveal the need for a [sic] more complex repairs or possibly even replacement of the entire structure, in which case the closure would last longer.”

“We want to get this bridge reopened to traffic as soon as we are safely able to do so,” said New Jersey Transportation Commissioner Richard T. Hammer. Hammer also serves as chairman of the New Jersey Turnpike Authority board.

“We understand the inconvenience this closure creates for tens of thousands of drivers every day,” he said. “We are working around the clock to get it reopened. But we won’t allow a single car to cross that bridge until we are absolutely certain that it is safe.”

Alternate routes remain in effect for traffic crossing between the two states’ turnpikes. Authorities say the DRB carries an average of 42-thousand vehicles per day across the now-disabled span.

REPAIR TIMETABLE

The PTC announced a tentative repair timetable, which authorities say represents the best case scenario for reopening the bridge to traffic. That timetable is as follows:

Estimated Bridge Repair Timetable

  • Feb. 6 – Install jacking towers.
  • Feb. 13 – Install jacking towers, instrumentation and structural reinforcement required for jacking.
  • Feb. 20 – Install instrumentation and structural reinforcement required for jacking.
  • Feb. 27 – Install structural reinforcement required for jacking.
  • March 6 – Perform jacking.
  • March 13 – Install permanent repair splice.
  • March 20 – Perform load testing.
  • March 27 – Demobilize jacking towers.


ALTERNATE ROUTES

Eastbound Detour (Pennsylvania to New Jersey)

PA Turnpike motorists heading east into New Jersey should use this revised alternate route: Exit at the Bensalem Interchange, #351 in Bucks County. Follow U.S. Route 1 north, to I-95 north, to I-295, south, to I-195 east. Take Exit 6 on I-195, and reenter the NJ Turnpike. Source: PA Turnpike Commission.

Westbound Detour (New Jersey to Pennsylvania)

NJTP drivers heading west into Pennsylvania will need to use either Interstate 78, Interstate 295, or the Burlington-Bristol Bridge. Source: New Jersey Turnpike Authority.

“Extreme Delays” Likely Between New Jersey and Pennsylvania, Authorities Warn

Delaware River Bridge To Be Closed Indefinitely Due To Crack In Structure

Delaware River Bridge

The Delaware River Bridge, linking New Jersey and Pennsylvania drivers, will remain closed indefinitely, officials have announced.

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission and the New Jersey Turnpike Authority are, jointly, warning drivers to expect “extreme delays” at crossings over the Delaware River due to the closure of the Delaware River Bridge. The bridge, which connects the New Jersey Turnpike to the Pennsylvania Turnpike, was closed Friday afternoon after a painting crew found a large crack in a support truss.

Officials with each state office were asking drivers to consider using public transit or carpooling to help reduce congestion. Authorities also have suggested people consider adjusting their work schedules, for those who can do so, or consider working from home, known in the tech world as telecommuting.

Updated Detours From State Officials In Pennsylvania And New Jersey

Meanwhile, authorities in both states listed an updated detour list, given the DRB is likely to remain closed for weeks to come. Essentially, drivers heading to New Jersey will be detoured off the Pennsylvania Turnpike at Exit 351, although local traffic will be permitted to access Exit 358, authorities with the PA Turnpike Commission announced. Meanwhile, drivers heading to Pennsylvania will be detoured off the New Jersey Turnpike at Exit 7A.

The full set of detours released by the states’ respective commissions is as follows:

  • Motorists heading to New Jersey will be detoured at PA Turnpike Exit 351 to Route 1 northbound to I-95 northbound, which becomes I-295 southbound in New Jersey, to I-195 eastbound to the New Jersey Turnpike. PA Turnpike Exit #358, Delaware Valley, will remain open for local traffic only; watch out for a single-lane pattern approaching Delaware Valley.
  • Motorists heading to Pennsylvania will be detoured at New Jersey Turnpike Interchange 7A to I-195 westbound to I-295 northbound, which becomes I-95 southbound; or from New Jersey Turnpike Interchange 5 to Mount Holly Road. Motorists traveling from northern New Jersey are advised to exit at Interchange 14 and use I-78 west into Pennsylvania.

Bridge Analysis To Take Several Weeks

Crack in Delaware River Bridge

The Culprit: This fracture, discovered by a painting crew Friday, January 20, forced the closure of the Delaware River Bridge. Officials said an analysis of the bridge’s structure will take several weeks. Until that is completed, at the very least, the bridge will remain closed. Photo: PA Turnpike Commission.

Engineers and construction crews worked through the weekend to stabilize the bridge at the site of the fracture; however, officials announced Saturday that a structural analysis of the bridge would take several weeks. “A comprehensive bridge analysis will be performed to better understand the global impact the fracture has had on the entire bridge,” authorities announced in a news release. “Information gathered is critical to determine the scope of and strategy for a permanent repair and reopening the bridge to traffic.”

“Unfortunately, at a minimum, the bridge will remain closed for several weeks,” said New Jersey Turnpike Authority Executive Director Joseph W. Mrozek in a written statement. “We will not be able to reopen it until we are absolutely certain it is safe. All of the agencies and contractors involved will be working urgently to make that happen as quickly as possible.”

The bridge has been undergoing a $61-million rehabilitation since 2012, according to officials, with in-depth inspections of the structure every two years. The $400-thousand cost is shared between the PTC and the NJTA, although the New Jersey Turnpike Authority manages the contract.

Sean Logan, chairman of the PA Turnpike Commission, said the most likely cause of the crack was rapidly-changing weather conditions, but that a complete analysis was prudent and necessary, aside simply assessing the fracture’s impact on the bridge.

“We are stabilizing the bridge now to prevent further movement,” Logan wrote. “However, out of an abundance of caution and to protect traveler safety, the bridge must remain closed until a full-scale analysis and repair plan have been completed.”

The four-lane bridge opened in 1956 and carries about 42,000 vehicles per day across the Delaware River.

 

Delaware River Bridge Closed Due To Structural Crack

Pennsylvania Turnpike Traffic Rerouted at East Terminus

Drivers On New Jersey Turnpike’s Pearl Harbor Memorial Extension Also Impacted

Crack in Delaware River BridgeThe Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission and New Jersey Turnpike Authority have announced the Delaware River Bridge between Pennsylvania and New Jersey will remain closed for as long as two weeks, and perhaps longer, while a structural assessment is performed on the span, the commission announced late Saturday.  Both agencies, which jointly own and maintain the span, decided to close the bridge Friday after a crack was discovered in one of the bridge trusses. New Jersey Turnpike officials closed the westbound lanes of the Pearl Harbor Memorial Extension, as well, which connects the mainline of the NJ Turnpike to the DRB.

Stabilization work continues to enhance the structure of the bridge; however, authorities announced Saturday, in a written news release, a full assessment must be completed to determine how the truss defect has impacted the remainder of the bridge structure. “Due to the significant fracture, stresses have been redistributed to other parts of the bridge,” said PA Turnpike Chief Engineer Brad Heigel. “We regret the inconvenience of closing the bridge, however, it is necessary to properly evaluate the bridge’s current condition and determine next steps to ensure the safety to our customers.”

Site of crack on Delaware River Bridge

Location of the crack on The Delaware River Bridge, which connects the Pennsylvania Turnpike to the Pearl Harbor Memorial Extension of the New Jersey Turnpike. Officials closed the bridge Friday, January 20, after a crack was discovered in the span. It will remain closed at least two weeks, officials announced Saturday. Photo: PA Turnpike Commission.

Authorities said the two-week assessment may take longer, depending on what authorities are able to learn. “Until more is understood about the damage, it is not possible to estimate how many days or weeks the bridge will need to be closed while the permanent fix is made,” officials wrote.

Officials with the New Jersey Turnpike Authority released an advisory that notified media and the public the repair of the structure will involve the construction of eight towers to help temporarily support the weight of the bridge. “Jacks will be used to attempt to lift the structure back into its original position,” the NJ Turnpike Authority announced in its advisory. “Sensors will be installed to enable engineers to monitor the load at key points on the structure.”

The fracture was discovered on the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware River Bridge during a routine check of the span by a painting crew on Friday.

The 1.2-mile span opened in 1956. About 42-thousand vehicles cross the span each day, according to officials with the agencies.

Eastbound Detour (Pennsylvania to New Jersey)

PA Turnpike motorists heading east into New Jersey should use this revised alternate route: Exit at the Bensalem Interchange, #351 in Bucks County. Follow U.S. Route 1 north, to I-95 north, to I-295, south, to I-195 east. Take Exit 6 on I-195, and reenter the NJ Turnpike. Source: PA Turnpike Commission.

Westbound Detour (New Jersey to Pennsylvania)

NJTP drivers heading west into Pennsylvania will need to use either Interstate 78, Interstate 295, or the Burlington-Bristol Bridge. Source: New Jersey Turnpike Authority.

Pennsylvania Turnpike To Close Overnight

Overnight Closures To Accommodate New Construction

PA Turnpike - I276The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission announced late Friday they would be closing I-276, the Pennsylvania Turnpike, for six hours the morning of Saturday, January 14, and Sunday, January 15, from 12:01 a.m. until 6 a.m. between Exit 351 and Exit 358. Officials stated the closures were necessary for construction workers to safely install new bridge supports and beams on a bridge at mile marker 356.6.

Authorities at the PA Turnpike Commission said they had marked alternate driving routes for eastbound and westbound travel, and officials said in a written release that state police and turnpike personnel would be directing traffic through the weekend’s overnight closures.

For drivers, the following detours will apply:

Eastbound Detour

Take U.S. Route 1 south to State Route 132 east, to U.S. Route 13 north. Reenter the Turnpike at the Delaware Valley Interchange, Exit 358.

Westbound Detour

Take U.S. Route 13 south to State Route 132 west to U.S. Route 1 north. Reenter the Turnpike at the Bensalem Interchange, Exit 351.

Bayonne Bridge Closures Impact Day and Night Traffic

Bridge Only To Open For Rush Hour Traffic

Bayonne BridgeThe Port Authority of New York and New Jersey will close the Bayonne Bridge to all traffic this morning at 9 a.m., and will reopen the span at 3 p.m. this afternoon. The bridge will close again at 7 p.m. this evening, and it will remain closed until 5 a.m. tomorrow. Identical closures will impact traffic on Thursday.

The daytime closure will also be in place Friday, the Port Authority announced, but the overnight closure will not be in effect Friday night.

In brief, the closures are as follows:

  • Wednesday, October 12, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and again from 7 p.m. until 5 a.m. Thursday
  • Thursday, October 13, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and again from 7 p.m. until 5 a.m. Friday
  • Friday, October 14, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

All traffic will be diverted to the Goethals Bridge during the closures.

Lower-Level GWB Closures Start Tonight

Closures To Impact Eastbound And Westbound Lanes

George Washington BridgeConstruction on the George Washington Bridge, at and near the GWB Bus Station, will force the overnight closures of all eastbound lanes of the GWB from October 12 through October 14, 2016, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has announced. Westbound lanes will also be affected, and through October 15. However, some traffic leaving New York will be permitted on the lower levels.

The eastbound closures begin at 9 p.m. tonight and Thursday, and will be lifted by 5 a.m. The Friday night closures will begin at 10 p.m. and be lifted Saturday morning at 8 a.m. Moreover, the Friday night closure will include the eastbound lower expressway, the Port Authority announced on its website. The expressway will close at midnight Friday and reopen Saturday morning at 5 a.m.

Officials also announced lane restrictions on the eastbound lower-level exit to Hudson Parkway (Route 9A) and Riverside Drive, but the exit will be open.

The westbound lower expressway lanes will also be impacted; however, some lanes will remain open during overnight construction work. Westbound lane restrictions Wednesday and Thursday night will begin at 10 p.m. and end the following morning at 5. The Friday and Saturday night restrictions will be in effect from midnight to 8 a.m. the following day.

The Port Authority is already warning of significant delays as a result of the restrictions.

A breakdown of the closures is shown below.

East

 

Eastbound

GWB Lower level, full closures:

  • Wednesday, October 12, from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. Thu.
  • Thursday, October 13, from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. Fri.
  • Friday, October 14, from 10 p.m. until 8 a.m. Sat.

GWB Lower expressway, full closures:

  • Friday, October 14, from 11:59 p.m. until  5 a.m. Sat.

GWB Lower level exit restrictions:

Exit 1 to Hudson Parkway

  • Thursday, October 14, from 11 p.m. until 5 a.m. Fri.
  • Firday, October 15, from 11:59 p.m. until 8 a.m. Sat.

West

Westbound

GWB Lower level, lane restrictions:

Two lanes closed westbound.

  • Wednesday, October 12, from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. Thu.
  • Thursday, October 13, from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. Fri.
  • Friday, October 14, from 10 p.m. until 8 a.m. Sat.
  • Saturday, October 15, from 10 p.m. until 8 a.m. Sun.

Geothals Bridge Closing Friday Night, October 7

Goethals BridgeThe Goethals Bridge between New Jersey and Staten Island will be closing tonight at 10 p.m., the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has announced. The closure begins Friday night, October 7, at 10 p.m. and continues through Saturday morning, to 8 a.m.

Officials have opened the Bayonne Bridge for the duration of the Columbus Day weekend, and the Outerbridge Crossing, to the south, is an alternate route.