U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent, a member of the Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure, submitted the following 15th District projects for possible inclusion in the Surface Transportation Authorization Act currently being drafted. This legislation authorizes federal highway and transit programs and provides funding for significant transportation projects across the United States over a period of six years

Congressman Dent issued the following statement concerning these local projects:

“I have worked with regional, county, and municipal officials, as well as local transportation experts to submit projects that truly reflect the transportation needs of the 15th District. I am confident I have put forth projects for the Committee’s consideration that will improve the efficiency and safety of transportation in our area.”

“Enhancing our local transportation system by advancing these projects will create jobs, encourage economic development and improve job access. Additionally, increasing the efficiency by which people and freight move through our region will reduce congestion on local roads and highways, cutting vehicle emissions and improving air quality.”

As the Committee develops this legislation, it is likely that not all of the projects listed will ultimately receive federal support. Those that do will be funded at levels, in many cases, less than those requested by the Congressman.

HIGHWAY PROJECTS:

Bridge

Project: Construct Improvements to the Interstate 78 and State Route 863 Interchange

Location: Weisenberg Township, Lehigh County

Project Description: Funding will be used to construct a new bridge and ramp system at the Interstate 78 and State Route 863 interchange in Weisenberg Township, Lehigh County. The current bridge at this interchange does not meet federal height requirements. These improvements will enhance safety for motorists traveling on I-78, a key transportation corridor connecting major Northeastern metropolitan areas.

Total Project Cost: $8,336,798

Requested Amount: $2,000,000

Project: Replace the Camp Road Bridge Over the East Branch Perkiomen Creek

Location: Salford and Franconia Townships, Montgomery County

Project Description: Funding will be used to replace an existing bridge on Camp Road that crosses the East Branch Perkiomen Creek in Salford and Franconia Townships, Montgomery County. The Camp Road Bridge, built in 1858, was closed to traffic by PennDOT several years ago due to its deteriorating condition. Detours resulting from this closure, along with increased residential and commercial development have placed a great strain on local roadways in this area. As one of the few crossings of the East Branch Perkiomen Creek, the replacement of this bridge would help alleviate growing congestion, reducing carbon emissions and improving efficiency.

Total Project Cost: $3,520,000

Requested Amount: $2,000,000

Project: Rehabilitation and Replacement of the PA 29 Gravel Pike Bridge Over the Branch Perkiomen Creek

Location: Upper Hanover Township, Montgomery County

Project Description: Funding will be used to replace an existing bridge on PA 29 Gravel Pike that crosses the Branch Perkiomen Creek in Upper Hanover Township, Montgomery County. The existing Gravel Pike bridge, built in 1937, is considered structurally deficient by PennDOT. If this bridge were to be closed due to deteriorating conditions, the approximately 11,044 vehicles that currently cross the span on a daily basis would be forced to detour onto local roads, most of which are ill-equipped to handle increased traffic. Additionally, PA 29 is a major local route for passenger and freight traffic in the growing Upper Perkiomen Valley area.

Total Project Cost: $2,000,000

Requested Amount: $1,600,000

Project: Rehabilitate the Eighth (8th) Street Bridge

Location: City of Allentown, Lehigh County

Project Description: Funding will be used to rehabilitate the Eighth Street Bridge, a structure crossing the Little Lehigh Creek in the City of Allentown, Lehigh County. The Eighth Street bridge, built in 1913, is experiencing some level of deterioration. This vital bridge connects Union Street and Lehigh Street, two major local roads, and provides a critical link for residents of Allentown’s south side to businesses and jobs located in city’s downtown area.

Total Project Cost: $10,400,000

Requested Amount: $3,000,000

Project: Rehabilitate the Coplay-Northampton Bridge

Location: Borough of Coplay, Lehigh County and Borough of Northampton, Northampton County

Project Description: Funding will be used to rehabilitate the Coplay-Northampton Bridge, a structure crossing the Lehigh River in the Borough of Coplay, Lehigh County and the Borough of Northampton, Northampton County. Improving the condition of this bridge will enhance safety on one of a limited number of Lehigh River crossings in the Lehigh Valley. Motorists would be forced to detour to another crossing if this bridge was not maintained and had to be closed due to deteriorating conditions, creating increased and unnecessary congestion on local roads.

Total Project Cost: $6,000,000

Requested Amount: $4,800,000

Project: Replace Route 1022 Bridge Over the Perkiomen Creek

Location: Hereford Township, Berks County

Project Description: Funding will be used to replace the Route 1022 bridge crossing the Perkiomen Creek in Hereford Township, Berks County. The bridge is currently considered structurally deficient and functionally obsolete. Replacing the structure will enhance the safety of motorists. With a 19 ton weight limit, the Route 1022 bridge plays a vital role in the movement of residents, visitors and freight through Hereford Township.

Total Project Cost: $2,000,000

Requested Amount: $1,000,000

Project: Replace Three Adjacent Bridges on Lehigh Street

Location: Whitehall Township, Lehigh County and Borough of Coplay, Northampton County

Project Description: Funding will be used to replace three adjacent bridges on Lehigh Street crossing the Lehigh River in Whitehall Township, Lehigh County and the Borough of Coplay, Northampton County. Improving the condition of this bridge will enhance safety on one of a limited number of Lehigh River crossings in the Lehigh Valley.

Total Project Cost: $6,500,000

Requested Amount: $5,200,000

Project: Design and Construct the Route 512 Washington Street Bridge Over Brush Meadow Creek

Location: Borough of Bangor, Northampton County

Project Description: Funding will be used to replace Route 512 Washington Street bridge crossing the Brush Meadow Creek in the Borough of Bangor, Northampton County. There are currently a limited number of crossings of Brush Meadow Creek in Slate Belt area. Allowing the Washington Street bridge to continue to deteriorate will lead to its closure and ultimately a lengthy detour for local motorists.

Total Project Cost: $1,125,008

Requested Amount $900,008

Project: Design and Reconstruct the Route 191 (Ackermanville) Bridge over Waltz Creek

Location: Washington Township, Northampton County

Project Description: Funding will be used to reconstruct the Route 191 Ackermanville bridge over Waltz Creek in Washington Township, Northampton County. There are currently a limited number of crossings of Waltz Creek in Washington Township. Allowing the Route 191 Ackermanville bridge to continue to deteriorate will lead to its closure and ultimately a lengthy detour for local motorists.

Total Project Cost: $4,121,300

Request Amount: $2,000,000

Project: Design and Reconstruct the Route 191 Bridge Over Monocacy Creek

Location: Lower Nazareth Township, Northampton County

Project Description: Funding will be used to reconstruct the Route 191 bridge over Monocacy Creek in Lower Nazareth Township, Northampton County. There are currently a limited number of crossings of Monocacy Creek in Lower Nazareth Township. Allowing the Route 191 bridge to continue to deteriorate will lead to its closure and ultimately a lengthy detour for local motorists.

Total Project Cost: $2,975,660

Requested Amount: $2,000,000

Project: Design and Reconstruct the Route 1002 Bridge Over Bushkill Creek

Location: Tatamy Borough and Forks Township, Northampton County

Project Description: Funding will be used to reconstruct the Route 1002 bridge over Bushkill Creek in Tatamy Borough and Forks Township, Northampton County. There are a limited number of crossings of Bushkill Creek in the area of this structure. Allowing this structure to continue to deteriorate will lead to its closure and ultimately a lengthy detour for local motorists.

Total Project Cost: $3,642,118

Requested Amount: $2,000,000

Project: Design and Reconstruct the Lehigh Street Bridge Over Coplay Creek

Location: Whitehall Township, Lehigh County

Project Description: Funding will be used to reconstruct the Lehigh Street bridge over Coplay Creek in Whitehall Township, Lehigh County. There are a limited number of crossings of Coplay Creek in the area of this structure. Allowing this structure to continue to deteriorate will lead to its closure and ultimately a lengthy detour for local motorists.

Total Project Cost: $2,767,000

Requested Amount: $1,500,000

Project: Design and Reconstruct the Lynn Avenue Bridge

Location: City of Bethlehem, Northampton County

Project Description: Funding will be used to design and reconstruct the Lynn Avenue bridge in the City of Bethlehem, Northampton County. Allowing this structure to continue to deteriorate will lead to its closure and ultimately a lengthy detour for local motorists.

Total Project Cost: $3,375,000

Requested Amount: $2,000,000

Project: Conduct Environmental review, Design and Construct a Replacement for the Northampton County Bridge #19 (High Street)

Location: City of Bethlehem, Northampton County

Project Description: Funding will be used to conduct environmental review, design and construct a replacement for the Northampton County Bridge #19 (High Street) in the City of Bethlehem, Northampton County. Allowing this structure, which provides access to Interstate 78 and Lehigh University locations, to continue to deteriorate will lead to its closure and ultimately a lengthy detour for local motorists.

Total Project Cost: $1,210,000

Requested Amount: $968,000

Road

Project: Construct a New Access Road to Provide an Additional Entrance and Exit to St. Luke's Hospital - Bethlehem Campus

Location: Borough of Fountain Hill, Lehigh County

Project Description: Funding will be used to develop a new access road to provide an additional entrance and exit to St. Luke's Hospital - Bethlehem Campus. St. Luke’s is a Level 1 Trauma Center and designated essential by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Office of Homeland Security’s Critical Infrastructure Protection Program. Currently there is not sufficient road capacity to handle peaks in traffic and traffic accidents lead to gridlock making the hospital inaccessible for physicians, patients, emergency and fire vehicles. This project improves public safety by creating a new emergency evacuation route for hospital patients and employees, a new route to the hospital for emergency vehicles, and provides a new route to evacuate patients, employees, and visitors during an on-site emergency. Additionally, the local community expects increased traffic on existing access roads from the opening of the Sands Casino in nearby Bethlehem, PA.

Total Project Cost: $6,216,000

Requested Amount: $1,500,000

Project: Construct the American Parkway

Location: City of Allentown, Lehigh County

Project Description: Funding will be used to advance the American Parkway project in the City of Allentown, Lehigh County. The American Parkway project will divert traffic from US Route 22 in its highest volume and most accident prone section, and will also divert traffic from city streets in primarily residential neighborhoods. The American Parkway will provide direct access into the City of Allentown, where increased mobility will boost redevelopment efforts currently underway. This project completes a major corridor comprised of South 4th Street, South 3rd Street, American Parkway and Airport Road that provides access to US Route 22 to the north and Interstate 78 to the south.

Total Project Cost: $36,500,000

Requested Amount: $6,000,000

Project: Design US Route 22 from 15th Street to Airport Road

Location: City of Allentown, Hanover Township, South Whitehall Township, Whitehall Township, Lehigh County

Project Description: Funding will be used to improve US Route 22 from 15th Street to Airport Road in the City of Allentown, Hanover Township, South Whitehall Township and Whitehall Township, Lehigh County. US Route 22 is the spine around which the Lehigh valley region has developed. The highway connects major population and employment centers in the area, and provides access to the Lehigh Valley International Airport (LVIA). The sections of US Route 22 around the MacArthur Road and Fullerton Avenue interchanges have crash rates higher than the statewide average for similar roads. This is largely due to substandard ramp design. The improvements will bring the ramps up to current design standards. Increased capacity on US Route 22 will draw regional traffic away from local roads that are not equipped to handle such demand and back onto the access-controlled highway. Additionally, congestion on US Route 22 negatively affects the Lehigh Valley's air quality. Mitigating this congestion will improve air quality in the entire region.

Total Project Cost: $11,251,248

Requested Amount: $6,000,000

Project: Construct Safety Improvements to the Intersection of Route 100 and Route 4003 (Claussville Road)

Location: Lowhill Township, Lehigh County

Project Description: Funding will be used to construct safety improvements at the intersection of Route 100 and Route 4003 (Claussville Road) in Lowhill Township, Lehigh County. This intersection has a history of crashes and is considered a top safety priority on the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation's (PennDOT) District 5 Highway Safety Improvement Program. Additionally, a reduction in crashes will result in better traffic flow on Route 100, a minor arterial that brings large amounts of passengers and freight into the Lehigh Valley region.

Total Project Cost: $1,000,000

Requested Amount: $800,000

Project: Conduct Environmental Review and Design Improvements at the Intersection of Route 100 and Route 29

Location: Upper Milford Township, Lehigh County

Project Description: Funding will be used to conduct environmental reviews and design safety improvements at the intersection of Route 100 and Route 29 in Upper Milford Township, Lehigh County. These modifications will address long-standing safety concerns and improve conditions for the many motorists that use this intersection daily.

Total Project Cost: $500,000

Requested Amount: $400,000

Project: Construct intersection Safety Improvements at the Junction of Route 100 and Route 309

Location: Heidelberg Township, Lehigh County

Project Description: Funding will be used to construct intersection safety improvements at the junction of Route 100 and Route 309 in Heidelberg Township, Lehigh County. This is a major intersection crossed by commuters and commercial traffic traveling from Schuylkill and Carbon Counties into the Lehigh Valley region. Currently, this location experiences a high crash rate and heavy congestion. The addition of turn lanes and a traffic signal will greatly improve traffic flow and safety in this area and alleviate congestion in the township.

Total Project Cost: $1,775,000

Requested Amount: $1,420,000

Project: Design and Reconstruct the Schantz Road Bridge and Roadway Realignment

Location: Upper Macungie Township, Lehigh County

Project Description: Funding will be used to reconstruct the Schantz Road bridge and roadway realignment in Upper Macungie Township, Lehigh County. There are a limited number of crossings of Breinig Run in the area of this structure. Allowing this structure to continue to deteriorate will lead to its closure and ultimately a lengthy detour for local motorists.

Total Project Cost: $3,733,204

Requested Amount: $2,000,000

Project: Conduct Environmental Review, Design and Construct Extension of Helen Street

Location: South Whitehall Township, Lehigh County

Project Description: Funding will be used to conduct an environmental review, design and construct an extension of Helen Street in South Whitehall Township, Lehigh County. The Helen Street Extension would provide a safe intersection for traffic to flow from Roth Avenue to Mauch Chunk Road and US Route 22. Currently, this traffic must travel through a skewed intersection that requires awkward turning movements, resulting in a high accident rate. The improvement of this intersection will allow the heavy commuter and commercial traffic that currently travels through this area to do so in a much more efficient manner. This is a main artery for traffic to come from the northern section of Lehigh County into the City of Allentown.

Total Project Cost: $6,500,000

Requested Amount: $2,000,000

TRANSIT PROJECTS:

Passenger Vehicle

Project: Replace Existing Buses with Heavy-Duty Hybrid-Powered Buses

Location: Lehigh and Northampton Counties

Project Description: Funding will be used to purchase heavy-duty hybrid-powered transit buses over a six year period to support the Lehigh and Northampton Transportation Authority’s (LANTA) fleet replacement and upgrade program. An effective program to meet current replacement cycle standards is essential to the safe and efficient operations of the Lehigh Valley's regional transit system. Since 1997, LANTA has improved and expanded transit services throughout Lehigh and Northampton Counties, resulting in an 80% increase in transit usage. The authority’s existing fleet of 78 buses needs to be improved and expanded to continue this development. LANTA's service expansion effort will be focused, to significant degree, on job access. This is needed to support the economic development and job growth within the Lehigh Valley, one of the fastest growing regions in Pennsylvania. The project will also encourage the redevelopment of the valley’s urban core, improve air quality, reduce the nation’s reliance on petroleum products, and help decrease local congestion.

Total Project Cost: $10,500,000

Requested Amount: $3,400,000

Project: Demonstrate a Hydrogen Fueled Shuttle Bus Project

Location: Lehigh and Northampton Counties

Project Description: Funding will be used by the Lehigh and Northampton Transportation Authority (LANTA), with the support of its partners Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. and the DaVinci Science Center, to conduct a three year demonstration of hydrogen-fueled, fully accessible minibuses. The minibuses will be operated on five days per week as part of LANTA's paratransit services division (Metro Plus). The use of hydrogen-fueled vehicles will be a critical component of our nation's transportation future. Domestically produced hydrogen, including fuels being made in the Lehigh Valley, will help eliminate our nation's reliance on foreign sources of energy and will greatly reduce transit vehicle emissions. Public acceptance of hydrogen-fueled vehicles used for mass transit will be aided by extensive demonstration of these cutting-edge vehicles.

Total Project Cost: $1,680,000

Requested Amount: $1,680,000

Small Starts

Project: Conduct Alternatives Analysis – Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)

Location: Lehigh and Northampton Counties

Project Description: Funding will be used to conduct an Alternative Analysis by the Lehigh and Northampton Transportation Authority (LANTA) to analyze the feasibility and components of a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) program along high density transit corridors in the Lehigh Valley. The investigation of BRT service is an outcome of regional transit development planning. The Alternative Analysis is an essential part of a project development effort that could lead to the implementation of a comprehensive BRT initiative. Improvement and expansion of public transportation meets a number of regional and national planning and community development objectives including enhanced mobility for all residents, expanded job access, support for redevelopment of the area’s urban core.

Total Project Cost: $400,000

Requested Amount: $400,000

Project: Conduct Preliminary Engineering and Environmental Clearance for the Reactivation of Passenger Rail Service

Location: Montgomery and Bucks Counties.

Project Description: Funding will be used to conduct preliminary engineering and environmental review for the reactivation of passenger rail service to upper Bucks County, eastern Montgomery County and the Lehigh Valley region through the Borough of Quakertown. This project will improve safety by removing vehicles from Route 309 corridor, which experiences high levels of congestion, and improve the movement of freight rail through the area. Reactivation of this rail line would provide public transportation service to rapidly growning areas of Bucks and Montgomery Counties. The proposed service would provide a needed transportation alternative to the more 40,000 vehicles per day that use Route 309. A proposed park and ride at the end of the line would service the Lehigh Valley region, one of the fastest growing areas in the Commonwealth. Providing public transportation would significantly reduce the amount of vehicle emissions resulting from congestion on Route 309. Furthermore, because the needed right-of-way currently exists, only a minimal amount of land disruption would be necessary to reactivate this important service.

Total Project Cost: $5,700,000

Requested Amount: $1,500,000

RESEARCH:

University Transportation Center

Project: Research, Develop and Implement Innovative Bridge Technologies through the RAPID Bridge UTC at Lehigh University

Location: Lehigh University, Advanced Technology for Large Structural Systems (ATLSS) Program, Bethlehem, Northampton County

Project Description: Funding will be used to execute a minimum of five research projects annually in partnership with public agencies or private sector companies, focusing on advancements in bridge replacement, repair, inspection and monitoring. A Rapid Advanced Performance Improved Durability (RAPID) Bridge UTC would address the need for advances in highway bridge technology, as our nation focuses on infrastructure investment to help stimulate the economy. Bridges are the most critical element in the highway system. Direct costs associated with assessing, repairing or replacing deficient highway bridges continue to rise, while indirect costs associated with delays due to bridge reconstruction or repairs are significant to the public.

Total Project Cost: $9,000,000

Requested Amount: $4,500,000