Year Two for Pennsylvania’s I-176 Project

Tue June 17, 2014 - Northeast Edition
Mary Reed


Pouring the deck on the I-176 project.
Pouring the deck on the I-176 project.
Pouring the deck on the I-176 project. Work on this project began in August 2012 and is expected to be completed in December 2014. The project’s improvements include full depth reconstruction of the existing travel lanes; constructing an additional collector/distributor lane in each direction for ramp traffic between the U.S. 422 and PA 724 interchanges; partial reconstruction

Construction activity on Pennsylvania’s I-176 has moved into a second year as the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) oversees improvements along about half a mi. of the Interstate between U.S. 422 and PA Route 724, used by an average daily traffic volume of 20,850 vehicles.

“These improvements include full depth reconstruction of the existing travel lanes; constructing an additional collector/distributor lane in each direction for ramp traffic between the U.S. 422 and PA 724 interchanges; partial reconstruction of the interchange ramps at U.S. 422; and construction of three new bridges [over U.S. 422, Norfolk Southern Railroad and the Thun Trail]; drainage improvements; new signs; and new pavement markings,” said Ronald J. Young Jr., PennDOT District 5 press officer.

The Thun Trail is a multi-use trail forming part of the Schuylkill River Trail and is named after Ferdinand Thun, who co-founded the Textile Machine Works in Reading, Pa., in the early 1890s. He and his business partner Henry K. Janssen had immigrated at different times from the same German town, and their factory manufactured knitting equipment and braiding.

The Trumbull Corporation of Pittsburgh, Pa., is general contractor for the $14.7 million project, which has an anticipated completion date in December 2014. Funding is provided by monies budgeted for work on Commonwealth interstates and will not affect Berks County road work funds from state or federal sources.

It is estimated the materials needed for the I-176 project will include 15,117 tons (13,714 t) of bituminous material, 35,582 tons (32,279 t) of aggregate, and 4,000 cu. yd. (3, 058 cu m) of concrete. Equipment working on the job includes:

• ICE I-19 open-end diesel hammer, for driving bridge piles

• Caterpillar IT38 loader and a Caterpillar 321 excavator, for snow removal

• Multiple Caterpillar dozers (D-6 and smaller) and excavators

• Multiple Volvo off-road trucks

• Two 600-ton (544 t) cranes, one from Liebherr and the other from Maxim, for bridge beam erection

• Bidwell concrete paving machine for bridge deck placement

• A Gomaco to slip form bridge parapets

• Multiple pieces of bituminous paving equipment, most from Blaw Knox, with rollers by Ingersoll Rand, Volvo and Hamm

“Work began on these needed improvements on Interstate 176 between U.S. 422 and PA 724 in Cumru Township, Berks County, on August 20, 2012, on which date crews began setting up signs, staging equipment, and installing erosion and sedimentation controls,” Young said. “Then on August 28 motorists began to experience a narrowed travel lane on the ramp from U.S. 422 west to I-176 south, and sporadic short-term lane restrictions on I-176 north and south as crews began work on the roadway. In the future there will be long term [24-hour] lane restrictions implemented on I-176 north and south that once implemented will remain in place for the duration of the project. Updates will be provided whenever traffic patterns change.”