Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Alternative to Allegheny Tunnel Explored
After ten years on the back burner, thoughts of changing how turnpike traffic gets from one side of the Allegheny Mountain to the other is once again being seriously considered. In 1992 The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission launched a study of the problem and in 2000 it decided the best option was to build a cut to the north of the existing tunnel. That plan met strong opposition and was tabled. Turnpike Spokesperson Carl DeFebo says the Commission recently completed a traffic study and found that by 2015 about 13.3 million vehicles will pass though the Allegheny Tunnel each year and that is not acceptable. In 2008 11.3 million vehicles used the tunnel and the number is projected to jump up to 14.9 million in 2025 and 16.6 million in 2035. DeFebo says all options will be considered including a by-pass cut, a new tunnel and a widening of the current tunnel. He says now is the time to begin the process because it will take two years to explore the options and another 4-6 years to draw up final designs.