Lehigh Valley

Bridge and highway projects proposed in Lehigh Valley

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - A number of highway and bridge projects have been proposed by way of the Lehigh Valley Transportation Improvement Program for 2015-18.

TIP is a four year capital program that must be updated every two years.

The recent TIP lists the high priority highway, bridge and transit projects in the Lehigh Valley from Oct. 1, 2014 to Sept. 30, 2018 that qualify for state and federal funding.

The total cost is roughly $382 million and includes $185 million for highway projects, over $140 million for bridge construction and improvement and $56 million for transit projects.

Joseph L. Gurinko, director of transportation planning for the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission, conducted a public meeting this Tuesday evening on TIP at the PennDOT District 5 office, Allentown.

Gurinko said the value of the projects cannot exceed revenue over a four year period.

Examples of highway projects include the Route 22 and the Fullerton interchange and the widening of Route 22 to six lanes from Airport Road to 15th Street.

Bridges proposed to receive work include the Fahy Bridge, Tilgham Street over the Lehigh River, Coplay-Northampton Bridge and Cementon Bridge.

According to Gurinko, the TIP program has grown from $305 million currently to the proposed $382 million due to Act 89. About $2.3 billion has been generated annually in transportation funding because of Act 89.

"So, it's a significant increase and we expect that number to grow due to Act 89," Gurinko said.

Projects meet both air quality conformity and environmental justice standards, Gurinko said.

"This program can be looked at as investing in the community," he said.

Also included in TIP is the replacement of 24 LANTA buses over a four year period along with replacing vehicles in the paratransit fleet.

The public comment period for TIP runs until 5 p.m. June 27. On June 30 the technical committee of the Lehigh Valley Transportation Study will present its recommendation to the coordination committee that will meet July 16.

Once TIP is adopted at the local level, it will be submitted to the state level for review.

Gurinko said the public is welcome to comment until June 27.

More information on the TIP report can be found at the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission office and website, PennDOT District 5 office, LANTA offices and the Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton public libraries.

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