May 1, 2014 at 5:14 PM
By mid-July and through May 15, 2015, there is going to be a lot more traffic on Old Forty Foot Road and Rittenhouse Road in Towamencin Township.
The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission will close Bustard Road between Sumneytown Pike and Rittenhouse Road in July in order to reconstruct the overhead bridge as part of the widening of the Northeast Extension between markers A26 and A31 by contractor Allan A. Myers to six lanes. The overhead bridge is one of eight being reconstructed by the Worcester contractor.
Mimi Doyle, public information coordinator for the Commission, along with Allan A. Myers Project Manager Bill Muzika and construction management consultant Jim Au, of Allentown’s McTish, Kunkel & Associates, presented the construction schedule to township supervisors last week.
A full open house on the project is set for May 14 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Towamencin Fire Co. on Bustard Road.
The detour will take traffic down Rittenhouse Road to Old Forty Foot Road to Sumneytown Pike, and vice versa. Doyle said the detour plan has been in place for about three years.
“It’s going to have some trying moments; construction, by nature, is a little dusty, and very noisy at times,” said Au. “However, any residents from this area, from here to Quakertown, that have to travel to Mid-County, especially at peak hours, know it is certainly a needed project.”
Au said the Commission will work with residents to keep them as happy as can be.
“There’s always some inconvenience before you get a final product,” he said.
The entire widening of the Northeast Extension, from the Fretz Road overpass to Mid-County, is scheduled for completion in 2016, depending on the weather.
“If we have winters like we had this past winter, that probably won’t happen,” Au said. “We have a very good team and a local contractor.”
Allan A. Myers will be constructing a temporary access ramp for emergency personnel from Bustard Road to the turnpike.
Au said mid-July is the target for the Bustard Road bridge closure, dependant on utility relocation and completion of the access ramps.
Muzika said the Bustard Road detour is a major impact on the project.
“We will give proper notification when the detour is in effect,” he said. “It’s a long duration detour.”
Muzika said the contractors and subcontractors will try to keep dust and noise to a minimum.
“It’s a major project, one that will help the community at-large,” he said.
By Thursday, and as long as three weeks, there will be minor traffic disruptions in and around the Lansdale Interchange as staged construction begins to allow for bridge construction, Muzika said.
Au said he and Muzika will meet with township Manager Rob Ford to discuss the possibility of providing fill material for township parks and ballfields.
Doyle said the large fill piles next to Holiday Inn is on turnpike property and is the site to dump material for the project. Au said there will be a slip ramp constructed in that area.
Supervisors Chairman Dan Littley told Doyle that the open house conflicts with a supervisors meeting and it would be “hard for supervisors to be there.” Doyle said the date cannot be changed, as the open house has been coordinated with contractors and consultants. She said she would provide supervisors with informational materials from the open house.
“It’s probably not engraved in stone, but it pretty much is engraved in stone,” she said.
Doyle said the project website at http://www.paturnpike.com/constructionprojects/mpA20toA31/ is constantly updated with information on the project, and encouraged residents to check it out daily.