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PennDOT Pathways I-80 North Fork Bridges Project Virtual Public Meeting - November 2021

I-80 North Fork Bridges Project

Virtual Public Meeting

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PennDOT welcomes you to the Virtual Public Meeting for the I-80 North Fork Bridges Project. Click the video below for an introduction to the project:

Click here to download a PDF transcript of the video.

Thank you for joining us for this Virtual Public Meeting to learn more about the I-80 North Fork Bridges Project. We're here to provide information about the project's design plans, tolling implementation, environmental studies and mitigation, and schedule.

You can access this meeting anytime between noon Nov. 22 and 11:59 p.m. Dec. 22, 2021, at your convenience.

We encourage comments on the project. Comments will be accepted through Dec. 22 when the meeting closes. Comments may be submitted via the comment form at the bottom of this meeting's web page, via email to i80NorthFork@pa.gov, by leaving a message on our hotline at 814-796-5009 or by sending a letter to PennDOT District 10, Attn: I-80 North Fork Bridges Project, 2550 Oakland Avenue, Indiana, PA 15701-3388.

How To Navigate This Meeting

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Project Overview

The I-80 North Fork Bridges

The I-80 North Fork Bridges are dual structures (one eastbound and one westbound) that were built in 1962 and most recently rehabilitated in 2013. These bridges cross over the North Fork Redbank Creek and Water Plant Road in Brookville Borough and Pine Creek Township in Jefferson County. Combined, the bridges are expected to carry approximately 30,897 vehicles daily. Approximately 44 percent of the traffic over the bridges is truck traffic.

Study Area Map

The study area for the I-80 North Fork Bridges Project lies entirely in Jefferson County. The eastern project limit is just east of the Richardsville Road (SR 4005) overpass. The study area includes both the westbound and eastbound bridge structures over the North Fork Redbank Creek and extends westward to just beyond where I-80 passes over Jenks Street (SR 4003). The project includes the replacement and realignment of the North Fork Bridges on I-80, as well as the replacement of the dual I-80 bridges over Jenks Street and the Richardsville Road bridges over I-80. The project also includes the extension of three culverts, including the North Fork Park Culvert, which carries I-80 traffic over the tributary to North Fork Redbank Creek.

Purpose & Need

The purpose of the project is to provide safe and reliable crossings of I-80 over North Fork Redbank Creek and Water Plant Road that appropriately accommodate interstate traffic with respect to connectivity, mobility, loading and geometry. The eastbound bridge is in poor condition and the westbound bridge is in fair condition; inspections are required on a 6-month and 1-year basis, respectively. The existing bridges are separated by approximately 1,100 feet, with the Walter Dick Memorial Park located between and below the two bridges. Both bridges are reaching the end of their serviceable lifespan.

We've identified several needs this project is intended to address:

Current and increasing traffic volumes

I-80 is a major trucking route through Pennsylvania, and this portion of the corridor is a vital thoroughfare in the rural western part of the state.

The bridges' aging structure

Both bridge structures are approaching the end of their serviceable lifespan. The structures have become susceptible to fatigue-related fractures because of their age and the amount of wear and tear caused by vehicles on the bridges. In the near future, this wear and tear will cause the need for more frequent and costly repairs. The eastbound bridge is in poor condition, and the westbound bridge is in fair condition.

Need for design improvements

The existing roadway system is outdated and does not meet current design standards. Specifically, the curve on the western edge of the eastbound bridge is not suitable for 70-mile-per-hour traffic, and many crashes, nearly twice the state average, have occurred on this segment of I-80.

Where We Are Now

To comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the project is being advanced as a Categorical Exclusion (See explanation below in "Environmental Studies & Mitigation" section) and impacts to natural, social, economic and cultural resources are being assessed.

This project is one of nine that are being evaluated as a candidate for bridge tolling. More information on bridge tolling and the PennDOT Pathways program can be found in the Bridge Tolling section of this Virtual Public Meeting below.

As part of the environmental review, PennDOT is analyzing how bridge tolling might impact local communities and how the alternate routes drivers could take to avoid the toll might impact local traffic and roadways.

The project team also hosted an online virtual meeting from March 1 to March 22, 2021. In the meeting, the team shared specific project details, such as engineering design, environmental impacts, construction schedule, maintenance and protection of traffic during construction and access to Walter Dick Memorial Park.

The project is currently in preliminary design, and construction is anticipated to begin in 2024.

Project Design

The project proposes to replace three sets of bridges in the project area:

  • The eastbound and westbound bridges on I-80 over the North Fork Redbank Creek and Water Plant Road.
  • The eastbound and westbound bridges on I-80 over Jenks Street (SR 4003).
  • The eastbound and westbound bridges on Richardsville Road (SR 4005) over I-80.

To address the substandard curvature of the eastbound North Fork bridge, this project includes the realignment of the eastbound bridge to run parallel to the westbound bridge, which will be reconstructed in its existing location. The existing roadway on I-80 eastbound will be abandoned.

In addition, this project will extend three existing culverts.

Two lanes of traffic in both directions on I-80 will be maintained during construction.

Click to view map larger.

The project team does not anticipate any detours on I-80 throughout the duration of construction. During certain construction activities, such as tie-in work, temporary lane closures might occur, leading to occasional traffic delays during peak hours.

We anticipate detours on both Jenks Street (SR 4003) and Richardsville Road (SR 4005). See information below:

Rendering of two bridges over a river.
Proposed I-80 North Fork Bridges (looking south toward Walter Dick Memorial Park)

Bridge Tolling

Funding

The estimated cost of construction for the I-80 North Fork Bridges Project is between $165 million and $185 million.

PennDOT Pathways is a program to identify and implement alternative funding solutions for Pennsylvania's transportation system. As Pennsylvania's mobility needs have grown, the amount of funding required to support our transportation system has continued to increase. Much of our current funding comes from gas taxes and driver and vehicle fees. While this model worked well in the past, circumstances today have made it unsustainable. With PennDOT Pathways, we're looking for reliable, future-focused funding solutions that will meet our growing needs while serving our communities and all Pennsylvanians for generations to come.

PennDOT currently faces an $8.1 billion gap in highway and bridge funding. This means we aren't generating enough funds to properly maintain, restore and expand our transportation system. PennDOT is taking action to find reliable sources of funding through the PennDOT Pathways program.

For more information about PennDOT Pathways, visit www.penndot.gov/funding.

To support PennDOT Pathways, a Planning and Environmental Linkages (PEL) study was conducted to identify near- and long-term funding solutions and establish a methodology for their evaluation. One of the funding solutions it identified as being able to implement immediately is tolling on major bridge projects across the state. The I-80 North Fork Bridges Project is one of nine projects being evaluated as a candidate for bridge tolling as a part of the PennDOT Pathways Major Bridge Public-Private Partnership Initiative (MBP3I). You can learn more about the program and initiative at the link above.

A bridge toll is a fee that drivers pay when using a specific bridge, often by using a service like E-ZPass. The funds received from the bridge toll would go back to the I-80 North Fork Bridges to pay for their construction, maintenance and operation.

Toll Implementation

Based on feedback received from the public and at stakeholder workshops, and because of the proximity of the two candidate bridges on the western end of I-80 and the two on the eastern end, PennDOT has decided to pursue one-way tolling on four bridge projects: North Fork, Canoe Creek, Nescopeck and Lehigh River bridges. Traffic would be tolled westbound at North Fork and eastbound at Canoe Creek; westbound at Nescopeck and eastbound at Lehigh River. Tolls are expected to be $1-$2 for passenger cars using E-ZPass at each toll location. The one-way tolling will reduce the number of tolls drivers would have to pay on I-80, as well as overall diversions and the need for additional tolling infrastructure.

To implement the toll with All-Electronic Tolling (such as E-ZPass or toll-by-plate), a toll collection facility (gantry, building and utilities) would be constructed for the westbound lanes, first at a temporary location where the Route 28 on-ramp merges onto westbound I-80. A long-term tolling facility just west of the new bridges would later replace this structure. The tolling facility would not require drivers to stop to pay a toll when using the bridge but would record vehicles as they pass under the gantry sensor. A map of the toll gantry location is below.

In addition, signs would be placed prior to the nearest exit and along the local roadway network to notify drivers about the toll bridge

PennDOT has established that tolls on the candidate bridges, including the I-80 North Fork Bridges, would be in the range of $1-$2 for cars using E-ZPass and higher for toll-by-plate and for medium or heavy trucks. Exact tolling amounts would be determined after design plans are finalized so the toll will generate enough revenue for the bridge's replacement, operations and maintenance for a period of approximately 30 years. At the end of the 30-year term for the Public-Private Partnership (P3), the tolling facility would be removed.

Qualifying emergency vehicles would be permitted to use Pathways' bridges at no cost, following the Pennsylvania Turnpike Policy (PDF).

It is expected that toll collection on the bridge would begin between 2023 and 2025.

Two curved metal pipes with tolling camera devices extend over a highway.
An example of an interstate toll gantry.

Environmental Studies

Categorical Exclusion

A Categorical Exclusion (CE) is a detailed study into how a project would affect the surrounding community's quality of life, including health, safety, cultural resources, natural resources and more. A CE is being prepared for the I-80 North Fork Bridges Project to address the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

Your input is an important component of this CE. The public is encouraged to provide their comments during this public meeting comment period.

Section 106

Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act is applicable to federal agencies and requires identification of, and assessment of the effects on historic properties and archaeological sites listed on, or eligible for listing on, the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). Consultation with persons interested in the historic and archaeological properties is integral to the Section 106 process and the public's involvement in the project. The Section 106 process includes identifying an area of potential effect (APE) for the project, and inviting property owners within that APE, as well as historical societies and others, to participate in the Section 106 process as "Consulting Parties." Separate APEs are established for the archaeological investigations and for above-ground historical properties.

The previously recorded Haugh site, which has Archaic, Transitional and Early Woodland period cultural components, is located adjacent to this project's APE. The Stonewall Spring site, a 19th- to early 20th century domestic site, is located within the APE. No permanent or temporary impacts to either are anticipated. Both areas would be fenced off and avoided during construction.

The Brookville Historic District, which is listed on the NRHP, and the NRHP-eligible Boundary Increase, are located southwest of and immediately adjacent to the APE, but will not be impacted by the project.

Section 4(f) and Section 6(f) Resources

Section 4(f) of the Department of Transportation Act of 1966, abbreviated here for simplicity, specifies that the Secretary of Transportation may approve a transportation project requiring the use of publicly owned land of a public park, recreation area, or wildlife or waterfowl refuge, or land of an historic site only if there is no prudent and feasible alternative and the project includes all possible planning to minimize harm resulting from the use, or the use is de minimis (or negligible).

Walter Dick Memorial Park, which is located below the bridges, will be impacted because permanent right-of-way is needed for new pier locations. No active recreation areas will be permanently impacted; however, a portion of a nature trail will need to be relocated on the eastern side of North Fork Redbank Creek.

Additionally, the project will require temporary access roads during construction. Approximately 1.2 acres of park property will be permanently impacted and approximately 5.5 acres will be temporarily impacted.

PennDOT conducted a virtual public meeting in March 2021 to collect public comments on potential impacts to the park. In response to the single comment received on the park, PennDOT will minimize impacts to mature trees. In addition, a flyer was posted in the park in August 2021 seeking input on proposed impacts. No additional comments were received.

It was determined that the impacts to the park would be de minimis (or negligible). The park will remain open for recreational activities during construction, though park access may be temporarily limited during certain activities, such as bridge demolition or girder installation. When known, information about temporary park restrictions will be posted to the I-80 North Fork Bridges Project website and the Brookville Borough website.

Walter Dick Memorial Park is also protected under Section 6(f) of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) Act of 1965. The LWCF Act created the LWCF State Assistance Program to assist in preserving, developing, and assuring all citizens of the United States the availability of outdoor recreation resources. The program provides matching grants up to 50 percent to states and through states to local governments for acquisition and development of public outdoor recreation sites and facilities. The Act contains mandatory provisions to protect property acquired or developed with assistance of the LWCF. The National Park Service (NPS) is the federal agency responsible for administering the LWCF. The state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources has confirmed that LWCF funds were used to purchase land for the Walter Dick Memorial Park. The entire park is afforded protection under Section 6(f). As such, any land necessary to be acquired for construction of the project would be considered a conversion from public outdoor recreation use to transportation use. A temporary construction easement occupied longer than 180 days is considered a permanent conversion also requiring replacement of property.

PennDOT will provide replacement land for the Section 6(f) conversion (required right-of-way, and temporary construction easements). This replacement land will also serve as part of mitigation for the Section 4(f) use of Walter Dick Memorial Park.

Noise Analysis

Because this project includes significant changes in the highway's alignment, it is eligible for consideration of noise abatement. A noise analysis was conducted and included monitoring of existing conditions and modeling for future conditions.

Several noise sensitive areas (NSAs) were assessed, including the Brookville Area High School and surrounding grounds, Brookville Cemetery and two residences north of I-80. South of the highway, an existing sound barrier wall needs to be replaced. The preliminary results of the noise analysis concluded that two noise barrier locations were both feasible and reasonable and will be carried forward into final design. These walls, including their type and style, were approved by the public through a public voting process.

Wetland and Waterways Impacts and Mitigation

Wetland and waterway impacts were studied as a part of the Categorical Exclusion environmental studies for the project. The following impacts were identified.

Streams, Rivers & Water Courses Presence Impacts
Intermittent (Streams Only) Present 877 linear feet
Perennial Present 4,488 linear feet
Ephemeral Present 581 linear feet
Wild Trout Streams Not Present No
Stocked Trout Streams Present 68 linear feet
Federal Wild & Scenic Rivers & Streams Not Present No
State Scenic Rivers & Streams Not Present No
Coast Guard Navigable Waterways Not Present No
Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission Water Trail Not Present No
Recreational Boating Waterway Present 68 linear feet

North Fork Redbank Creek is identified as a National Wetlands Inventory riverine habitat and is designated as a High Quality Cold Water Fishes resource per Pennsylvania Water Quality Standards. The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission also designates the creek as a stocked trout stream. In-stream construction restrictions for Stocked Trout Waters (March 1 through June 15) will be observed.

North Fork Redbank Creek is also listed by "Keystone Canoeing" as a canoeable waterway. Temporary and permanent impacts to North Fork Redbank Creek are anticipated. Permanent impacts associated with the installation of piers and scour protection should have no long-term impact to recreation in this area, as Keystone Canoeing suggests canoers recreate on the waterway portage upstream of, and around, the existing dam. Signs would be placed to alert canoers of the bridge construction.

Wetlands Presence Impacts
Open Water Not Present No
Vegetated (Palustrine Emergent and Scrub Shrub) Present 0.163 acre
Vegetated Forested Not Present No
Exceptional Value Not Present No

Field investigations identified and delineated wetlands within the project study area. There would be permanent impacts to five wetland areas as a result of the project. The total acreage of these impacts is 0.163 acres. Approximately 0.014 acres of temporary wetland impacts are anticipated for temporary grading and access roads.

Threatened and Endangered Plants and Animals

A review determined there are no known impacts anticipated to threatened and endangered plants and animalswithin the project area.

Traffic Diversion

Traffic Diversion Analysis

Traffic diversion analysis comprises two distinct steps: The first is the development of the traffic model to predict how much traffic would divert off the interstate when a toll is imposed and what route that traffic would take. The second step is evaluating and analyzing the diversion routes identified to determine the impact of the diverted traffic on that route and to identify potential improvements to offset those impacts where appropriate.

A detailed traffic demand model was used to identify diversion routes. The existing statewide demand model that was employed is based on assumptions involving the transportation system, regional demographics and traveler characteristics. These assumptions were then combined using data from traffic counts (including the share of truck traffic), recorded travel speeds and origin and destination patterns, along with regional travel demand models. The model is then run under various parameters to predict the amount of traffic that would be diverted off the interstate and more importantly, where that traffic would go.

If a toll is placed on the I-80 North Fork Bridges, an estimated 4 percent of daily traffic is expected to choose to divert off the interstate to avoid paying the toll, based on the results of the detailed traffic model. The diverting traffic would be predominantly passenger vehicles and small trucks. The model was also used to analyze what routes they would predominantly take. As mentioned above, based in part on feedback received from the public and at stakeholder workshops, PennDOT has decided to pursue one-way tolling for the four I-80 bridges and would only collect tolls on the westbound North Fork Bridge.

So where would the majority of the diverting traffic go? The primary diversion route identified in the model is along State Route 28 and US Route 322 into Brookville and on State Route 36. This route is shown on the map below. You can click on the map to enlarge it.

Click to view map larger.

As you can see from the table below, with the toll in place the AM and PM peak hour traffic on the bridges would be reduced by approximately 40 to 120 vehicles per hour, and the primary diversion route would increase by approximately 40 to 90 vehicles per hour, with the remainder of traffic expected to use other routes. Because the toll will only be collected on westbound traffic, there is no expected diversion in the eastbound direction.

Peak Hour Traffic Volume Table

Route Time of Day Pre-Toll Traffic Post-Toll Traffic
Primary Diversion Route AM Peak Hour 790 830
Primary Diversion Route PM Peak Hour 1,080 1,170
I-80 North Fork Bridges AM Peak Hour 1,920 1,880
I-80 North Fork Bridges PM Peak Hour 2,670 2,550

The origin-destination patterns are also taken into account in looking at diversion. The origin-destination criteria is divided into three categories: local (less than 10 miles), regional (10-25 miles) and external (more than 25 miles). As you can see in the graphic below, the majority of the traffic traveling over the bridges originates from external locations and is destined to external locations. Because these trips are typically long-distance trips, this type of traffic is more likely to stay on the interstate and not divert.

When people hear about vehicles diverting from the interstate to avoid a tolled bridge, they often envision what happens when there is a full traffic detour. To distinguish between a diversion and a detour in simple terms, diversions are a choice, detours are mandatory.

Detours are imposed because of construction or an incident on a roadway or bridge and those detours must be followed. In contrast to a detour, diversion from the interstate is a choice that drivers may make to avoid a toll and the diversion traffic is normally a small fraction of the number of vehicles compared to detours, when 100 percent of traffic leaves the interstate.

Traffic Diversion Methodology

Once it was determined how much traffic would divert and the primary route that would be utilized, a comprehensive evaluation of the potential impacts to the diversion route was undertaken. The graphic below highlights the key methodology for the evaluation of the diversion route.

Route Identification
Prioritize routes that add more than 100 vehicles per day
Traffic Projections
No toll vs. tolling scenario comparisons
Route Conditions
Intersections, traffic control, signage, & pavement conditions
Crash Data Summary
Identify crash patterns & crash rates
Capacity Analysis
Depict operational issues & capacity limitations
Roadway Review
Evaluation of lane widths and pavement structure
Alternative Transportation Modes
Transit, bus, bike lanes, etc.
Potential Mitigation Options
Evaluation of options to offset impacts to community

A workshop was conducted with key stakeholders (including elected officials, first responders, school districts, regional planners, etc.) in August 2021 to discuss the diversion route analysis, collect information on additional routes drivers might take and potential impacts from diverting traffic. This feedback was incorporated into the traffic diversion analysis and evaluated to identify where toll diversion may cause adverse effects and examine potential ways to offset these impacts. The analysis and recommended improvements are shared below.

Traffic Evaluation

An extensive traffic study was conducted of the primary diversion route, including field observations and stakeholder coordination, traffic counts, capacity analysis, and crash analysis.

Field Observation

Field observations included:

  • Travel time measurements on I-80 and along the diversion route
  • Intersection operation and congestion
  • Traffic and pedestrian activity in Downtown Brookville
  • Sidewalk conditions
  • Pedestrian and bus traffic at the Brookville Area Schools along Jenks Avenue
Crash Analysis

The crash analysis looked at five years of data on reported crashes and identified clusters at the following locations:

  • SR 36 (Allegheny Boulevard) at SR 28/SR 322
  • SR 28/SR 36/SR 322 at Franklin Street
  • SR 28 at I-80 Ramps

These clusters were evaluated and expected crashes were below projected crash rates at all locations, indicating little potential for safety improvements. Increased diversion route traffic may increase the projected crashes.

Capacity Analysis
  • Capacity analysis was conducted at 10 study intersections along the diversion route. Estimated 2023 and 2040 traffic volumes were projected based on the traffic counts and regional growth factors.
  • Increased traffic along the primary diversion route following the implementation of tolling was estimated using a model.
  • The capacity analysis indicated that all initial study area intersections are projected to operate at a low level of congestion in the future and toll diversion would not cause a substantial increase in traffic.
  • Field observations indicated significant congestion on Progress Street at South Main Street for a brief period during the PM peak.
Stakeholders

Concerns about the project area that were discussed during stakeholder coordination included:

  • Traffic congestion, safety, and turning movements at the intersection of SR 36 (Allegheny Boulevard) at SR 28/SR 322
  • Traffic congestion on SR 36 (Allegheny Boulevard), particularly at the I-80 ramps
  • Congestion on Progress Street and on South Main Street near Allegheny Boulevard
  • Conditions in downtown Brookville including:
    • Angle parking
    • Congestion during detours
    • Pedestrian activity
    • Turning trucks
    • Steep grades
    • Narrow lanes and curves
  • Potential for diversion traffic along Jenks Avenue near the schools
  • Traffic signals that may not meet current standards and can't accommodate changing traffic conditions.
  • Impacts of proposed development, especially the Love's truck stop
  • Short off-ramps
Traffic Counts

Intersection turning movement counts were conducted at 10 intersections along the primary diversion route, including six signalized intersections, during the AM peak, midday, and PM peak periods. Signal installation was under way at a seventh intersection at the time. These counts included separate tabulations of pedestrians, motorcycles, cars and various sizes of trucks. Video was taken during the counts to document traffic operations.

Diversion Route Improvements

Based on feedback received during outreach and the subsequent analyses, numerous improvements were evaluated and are detailed below. Because modeling forecasts can sometimes differ from actual impacts, before and after studies will be conducted on the diversion routes. These studies will confirm the models' results or identify areas where additional evaluations should be conducted to identify improvements for consideration and potential implementation.

Based upon detailed evaluation of issues identified by project stakeholders, the following improvements along the diversion route are proposed to accommodate the effects of tolling diversion:

  • SR 36 at I-80 WB ramps: Upgrade and retime traffic signals, install traffic signal management system and install traffic cameras, subject to municipal approval.
  • SR 36 at I-80 EB ramps: Upgrade and retime traffic signals, install traffic signal management system and install traffic cameras, subject to municipal approval.
  • SR 36 (Allegheny Blvd) at SR 28/SR 322: Upgrade and retime traffic signals, install traffic signal management system and install traffic cameras subject to municipal approval; improve geometry of WB right turn.
  • SR 322 Allegheny Boulevard to Progress Street: Install left turn lanes.
  • SR 36 (White Street) at SR 28/SR 322: Upgrade and retime traffic signals, install traffic signal management system and install traffic cameras, subject to municipal approval.
  • SR 322 at Pickering Street: Upgrade and retime existing traffic signal, install traffic signal management system and install traffic cameras, subject to municipal approval.
  • SR 322 at Taylor Street/Richardsville Rd: Upgrade and retime existing traffic signal, install traffic signal management system and install traffic cameras, subject to municipal approval.
  • SR 322 at SR 28: Upgraded traffic signal and reconfigured intersection under construction. Install traffic signal management system and install traffic cameras, subject to municipal approval.
  • Jenks Avenue: Upgrade existing sidewalks, install Rapid Rectangular Flashing Beacons at uncontrolled sidewalks.
  • Madison Street: Upgrade existing sidewalks.
  • I-80 WB: Install warning signs advising truck traffic of steep grades in downtown Brookville
  • I-80 WB Off-ramp at SR 28: Add westbound left turn lane to ramp at intersection.
Click to view map larger.

Environmental Justice Considerations

Executive Order 12898, Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority and Low-Income Populations (February 11, 1994), directs federal agencies to identify and address, as appropriate, disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects of programs, policies and activities on minority and low-income populations.

  • Low-income is defined as a person whose median household income is at or below the Department of Health and Human Services federal poverty guidelines ($26,500 for a household of four).
  • Minority is a person who is: (1) Black (2) Hispanic or Latino (3) Asian American (4) American Indian and Alaskan Native, or (5) Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander.

Implementation of a toll would affect all bridge users regardless of income and minority status. Because tolls would comprise a larger percentage of a low-income bridge user's income, tolls would have a greater effect on these users, particularly if they depend on the bridge for daily travel to work or other destinations. As a result, and in keeping with other Department of Human Services (DHS) financial assistance programs offered in Pennsylvania (SNAP, Medicaid, LIHEAP), PennDOT is proposing to offer toll-free bridge access to low-income persons qualifying for one or more of these DHS programs. The DHS financial assistance programs use a progressive income limit based on the number of people in a household (equivalent to about $35,000 for a family of four — but it varies slightly by DHS program). Individuals who qualify for toll-free bridge access would select one toll bridge from the Major Bridge P3 Initiative to apply these benefits.

Preliminary analysis, U.S. Census data, and information received from PennDOT outreach initiatives indicate that low-income populations may live along the traffic diversion route. As indicated in the Traffic Diversion Analysis section above, PennDOT would make minor roadway improvements to minimize effects on the diversion route.

Nevertheless, PennDOT is seeking participation by potentially affected communities in order to understand how the effects of increased traffic may impact low-income and minority populations. You are encouraged to contribute to our understanding of local conditions by submitting your comments during the comment period.

Project Schedule

The project is currently in preliminary design. The next step is to complete the environmental studies and complete the Categorical Exclusion. Construction is anticipated to begin in 2024 with a three- to four-year construction period.