The Valentine's day storm, that shut down I-78 may have shown poor planing, on Penn dot's part, but also shows another Failing in Pennsylvania. The amount of time it takes, to get both road, and other Transit projects, from the drawing board, to initial construction to final completion.
It took 30 years + to finish, the Pa portion of I-78 and, by the time, it was opened in 1989, I-78 was not the relief originally intended. In the 1950's, 1960's and even 1970's the finished product would have fit the intention of the planers, but by 1989 although not a complete failure at relieving some of the traffic from 222 and 22 it gave much less relief, than envisioned by the planners in the 1950's. Within the first 10 year of I-78 opening it had became clear, that the 4 lanes were too small for the usage. The roadway also lacks any sort of emergency exit gates between long stretches between exits, something that may have helped eliveate some the problems on Valentines day.
These problem are not simply limited to I-78 these type of problems are also happen on I-83 and I-81 in York and Cumberland counties. Where one minor accident can trap people on these road ways, in between exits for hours, at a time. An example of, this is an accident near Baltimore can tie traffic up going south all the way up to the northern Part of York county. As, well an accident in Cumberland county can tie traffic up all the way down to the southern part of York county.
The problem is essentially that these 4-lane Highways are being asked to handle the traffic of a 8 lane highway. This is understandable in the case of I-83 which was built in the 1960's . It was quite clear by the time, that the building, on the final length of I-78 was started in the 1980's. That the roadway needed to be larger ,than the 4 lanes that were plan, on most of it but by that time the old plans seem to have been set in stone, and the future was simply ignored. Therefore we have the mess today and I-78 is simply heading towards being another rte-22 and I-83.
I will continue this thought in another post later on this subject related to special interests and transit projects
Labels: I-78, I-83, Pennsylvania, Transit, Valentines day