Harrisburg, Pa. — The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) plans to invest more than $2 billion in roadway maintenance and highway and bridge capital projects over the next 10 years through its new Road Maintenance and Preservation (Road MaP) program.
“We’ve made significant progress on our roadway and bridge needs and the Road MaP program will amplify our efforts statewide,” said Governor Tom Wolf. “We’re bringing an even bigger focus to our interstates and to the lower-volume roads where many Pennsylvanians live and work.”
The investments are being made possible due to legislative action in 2016 that caps the expenditures from the Motor License Fund going toward the State Police budget beginning with the 2018-19 budget and concluding with the 2027-28 budget. The program will see an additional estimated $63 million in the 2017-18 state fiscal year through Governor Wolf’s budget proposal of a $25 per capita fee for municipalities with exclusive State Police enforcement coverage.
Of the capital-project investments, $500 million will be allocated to an Interstate preservation and reconstruction program, bringing that total program, begun in 2016, to $1 billion over the next 10 years. Another $600 million will go toward rehabilitation and reconstruction needs identified through the department’s district and regional planning efforts.
Another piece of Road MaP is aggressively addressing relatively low-volume roads with a reinvigorated initiative to use recycled asphalt to preserve and upgrade the condition of these roads. Recycled Asphalt Paving (RAP), which repurposes materials from projects onto other roadways by mixing ground millings with oil, allows the department to pave less-traveled roads that otherwise wouldn’t be paved, or to reinforce roadway shoulders.
RAP is an environmentally conscious method that saves the need to purchase new material, stretching dollars to impact more miles of secondary roadways. In PennDOT’s northwest region where RAP is being deployed, they estimate roughly $5.4 million in annual savings due to RAP usage. RAP will be an increased focus with PennDOT forces in Armstrong and Berks counties in 2017, with expanded usage occurring in 2018.
“Our county staff have aggressively managed their budgets over the past decade to maximize maintenance dollars and Road MaP will allow us to better complement the vital work of our private-sector partners to improve our transportation system,” PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards said.
The savings achieved through county staff’s innovation and efficiency efforts have laid the groundwork for Road MaP to make the biggest impact with department and private-sector work. Roughly 75 percent of the department’s total highway and bridge investments go to the private sector and Road MaP’s maintenance component ensures that department forces and industry partners can continue and expand vital maintenance improvements.
Road MaP addresses large needs on the 40,000 PennDOT-maintained miles.
Specifically, the Interstate program will address the issue of more than half of the state’s Interstates being out of cycle for reconstruction, which should be considered every 40 years. Of the 2,691 department-maintained Interstate bridges, nearly 40 percent have exceeded their original 50-year design life and 44 of them are older than 65 years.
In addition, of the roughly 18,000 miles of PennDOT-owned, low-volume roadways, 24 percent haven’t had structural resurfacing in more than 20 years. Of the PennDOT-maintained roads that aren’t Interstates or on the National Highway System, 27 percent are rated as “poor” on the International Roughness Index, which rates pavement smoothness.
The department estimates that Interstate reconstruction costs roughly $2.6 million per lane mile, or $5.2 million if the segment mile of Interstate has two lanes. Resurfacing one mile of two lanes of interstate in one direction of travel costs roughly $1 million. On lower-volume roads, per-mile costs are roughly $24,700 to seal coat, $101,400 to resurface and $910,000 to rehabilitate.
“We’re well aware that many Pennsylvanians are dealing with very old roads that sorely need repairs, and Road MaP is one way that we’re going to fix our connections within communities and to other states,” Richards said. “With this initiative we’re telling our customers that we’re using these new investments to better maintain and preserve our massive roadway system — the fifth-largest in the country.”
Road MaP, with its additional resources making more contracts and department maintenance work possible, means that all maintenance projects listed in Act 89’s Decade of Investment will be completed by 2028. As of late February, more than 70 percent of projects accelerated or made possible by Act 89 were completed, are underway, or are on the department’s four- or 12-year plans.
The projects are viewable at www.projects.penndot.gov.
More information on Road MaP is available at www.penndot.gov on the “Act 89 Transportation Plan” page.