Construction began Jan. 21 on the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) project to rebuild and improve a 4.3 mi. (6.9 km) stretch of U.S. Route 13 (also known as the Bristol Pike) in Bucks County, southeastern Pa.
Crews will be at work for two and a half years. The result will not only extend the life of Route 13 but also increase safety for its users.
According to PennDOT, the project is needed due to deterioration of both the highway’s pavement and its 1940s vintage drainage facilities.
This has been a relatively fast-moving project, given all the preliminary engineering and environmental clearances were in hand in May 2009, with final design completed the following month. By July 2012 final plans, specifications, and estimates were in place, with bidding opened in September of that year. Notice to proceed was issued on Nov. 28, 2012, and project completion is set for Oct. 29, 2015.
James D. Morrissey Inc., of Philadelphia is serving as general contractor for the job, which involves a stretch of Route 13 from state Route 413 to the Levittown Parkway, passing through Bristol Township, Bristol Borough, and Tullytown Boro on the way.
Financed by federal funds, the two-phase $36.5 million project includes:
• Rehabilitation of deteriorated pavement
• Reduction of the speed limit five miles per hour to 45 mph
• Replacing drainage facilities and upgrading nine traffic signals
• Adding left turn lanes at several locations
• Installation of sidewalks in Bristol Township and Bristol Borough
• Construction of two pedestrian tunnels in Tullytown, which carry the Delaware Canal Towpath under northbound and southbound Route 13
• Rehabilitating two bridges spanning local creeks
• Landscaping the median
An unusual aspect of this job is that lanes on Route 13 will be narrowed.
“The narrowing from six lanes to four and adding the widened grass median is to act as a traffic calming measure. This area is a high crash corridor for vehicles and pedestrians. We are adding sidewalks and curbs to protect the people who walk along Route 13 and the traffic pattern and reduced lanes will reduce speeds,” said Charles Metzger, community relations coordinator of PennDOT Region 6.
PennDOT’s improvement plan incorporates these traffic calming measures and other recommendations proposed by the Route 13 Revitalization Committee, whose members include various township and borough officials and the Bucks County Planning Commission. Among other assistance, the latter provides Bucks County’s municipalities with transportation planning services, including recommendations on proposed highway improvements.
Work on the project is proceeding apace.
“We are currently carrying out pipe installation and removal, shoulder rehabilitation, concrete rehabilitation, box culvert installation, and asphalt overlay,” said Scott R. Rainey, project manager of James D. Morrissey, Inc.
During this stage, new drainage pipes are being installed under Route 13 between Green Lane in Bristol Township and Levittown Parkway. While there were some utility issues, these were resolved on a case by case basis.
A number of subcontractors are on the job, include the Nyleve Bridge Corporation in Emmaus, Pa. (Otter Creek bridge and Adams Hollow culvert); Prieto Company, based in Doylestown, Pa. (sidewalk, curb, and handicap ramp); Armour Electric & Sons in Langhorne, Pa. (traffic signals); ETC, based in Hatfield, Pa. (traffic control); Guidemark Inc., in Souderton, Pa. (line stripping); Morgan Rail (guiderail) and ProMax Fence (fence), both headquartered in Reading, Pa.; and US Seal in West Wyoming, Pa. (saw and sealing and demolition sawcutting) also are contributing to the project.
The second phase of the Route 13 improvement project will be carried out next year between Route 413 and Green Lane.
About the Company
Second generation construction contractor and materials supplier James D. Morrissey Inc., is now more than 80 years old. The company offers recycling, engineering, concrete and bituminous paving, and heavy and highway services for industrial, commercial, and environmental projects, as well as providing emergency assistance as needed.
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