Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission Breaks Ground on Swatara Creek Bridge

Existing Swatara Creek Bridge

Existing Swatara Creek Bridge

Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) officials broke ground on April 22nd for the $48 million Swatara Creek Bridge Project, part of its long-term initiative to rebuild and modernize “America’s First Superhighway,” as reported in a recent article in Roads and Bridges. The design for the new roadway, in south central Pennsylvania between the Harrisburg East and Lebanon-Lancaster exits, will provide capacity for three lanes in each direction to accommodate traffic growth and will include wider shoulders and a median for added safety. More than 26,000 vehicles per day use the existing bridge.

Stage One Construction

Stage One Construction

The Swatara Creek Bridge project team includes: HAKS,  which provided final design and bid document preparation and is now providing construction support services; Hill International Inc., construction manager; and Swank Construction Co., general contractor.

According to Turnpike CEO Mark Compton, “We will spend more than $600 million on highway improvements—much of it focused on projects like the Swatara Creek Bridge that provide a smoother, safer trip for travelers. Beyond the benefits to customers, this project and others like it also create good-paying jobs and help to boost the  economy here in southern Dauphin County.”

One challenge, according to Charles A. DiCello, P.E., HAKS’ Project Manager, is the coordination of construction staging around so many complex structures and existing facilities.

The major components of this project include the complete reconstruction and widening of approximately 1.5 miles of mainline turnpike for a six-lane highway with four 12-foot shoulders and the replacement and widening of three mainline bridges. The largest bridge carries the Turnpike over Swatara Creek and Swatara Creek Road. The 620-foot-long six-span, continuous steel plate girder bridge will be replaced with a four-span, continuous steel plate girder bridge that will open in 2016.  The other mainline bridges carry the Turnpike over Vine Street  and the Middletown/Hummelstown Railroad.

Pier 3 Wall

Stage One Pier 3 reinforcing

Two cantilever cast-in-place retaining walls on pile foundations and two MSE retaining walls were designed to minimize right-of-way impacts and provide adequate room for stormwater management features. Other highlights of the project include the coordination and relocation of several utilities, over 6,400 linear feet of sound barrier walls, a wetland mitigation site and stormwater management including detention basins and swales. Right-of-way acquisition of three total properties and the partial acquisition of three additional properties were required to accommodate the widening.

See Roads and Bridges’s article “Bridge Construction: Pa. Turnpike Breaks Ground on Swatara Creek Bridge” and  PTC’s Website article “Constructing Three Replacement Turnpike Bridges in Dauphin County.”