In response to mitigation guidance regarding COVID-19, we've had to make operational changes with safety and essential services in mind. These changes have altered the way PennDOT staff is providing services for Pennsylvanians. Here's an update on how our Planning Deputate is adapting to the changes.
The Planning Deputate works with the federal government and local planning organizations to develop the Twelve-Year Transportation Program, which serves as the blueprint for highway, bridge, aviation, rail freight and mass transit improvements. Planning also manages the cash flow of improvement projects and has sections working on long-range research and map making.
"Like all of you, I'm adjusting to the 'new normal' of life during COVID-19," said Deputy Secretary for Planning, Larry Shifflet. "It's been incredible to watch so many facets of our operation adapt to these changes – it's a testament to the dedication of our PennDOT team to serving the people of Pennsylvania."
The office has been able to process over 134 federal authorizations through electronic signature. This allows projects to continue to move forward as well as positions projects to be available for bid when lettings get started again. Also, our municipal partners, in coordination with the Bureau of Planning and Research, have continued some Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP) courses through webinars.
Research projects continue to be coordinated and are moving forward, and ayments to our municipalities continue to be reviewed and processed daily. Our P3 office continues to coordinate efforts with the Rapid Bridge Replacement (RBR) project, ensuring things are in place for a smooth transition when construction begins again. Also, they are coordinating with District 4 and other interested constituents on the I-81 P3 project in Luzerne County.
With guidance from the Program Center, our Planning Partners have been able to continue business and hold virtual board, commission and/or coordinating committee meetings. In fact, the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission utilized Zoom to hold a virtual Board meeting on March 26, 2020, and had 88 participants join the meeting, with active participation from many who joined.
While it is not business as usual, we have been able to adapt to the new teleworking model and continue to provide services to our customers. This is all due to the incredible work ethic and can-do attitude of not only those in the Planning Deputate, but all PennDOT employees, as well as, our municipal partners and MPOs/RPOs.
Below are some photos of PennDOT workers from the Planning Deputate, all working under our "new normal" of home offices.