Pennsylvania enjoys one of the most comprehensive transportation infrastructure systems in the country. Our expansive network of roads, rail and airports are a huge economic determinant for our state.
In recent years, portions of our infrastructure network have fallen into a state of disrepair, which puts at risk both safety and commerce. So the passage of the $2.3 billion transportation bill last November was a very positive step for Pennsylvania.
Now, here come the orange cones, lane closures and detours.
Statewide, the Corbett administration announced in April, an extra 350 road, bridge and mass transit projects would begin this year, thanks to that new money. That brings the total for the year to about 950, with more to come, since the bill provides five years of funding to bring our transportation infrastructure up to snuff.
That's a lot of work zones, flaggers, traffic cones — and costly travel delays. Just about every employer and industry will be affected, if they aren't tracking these projects and planning ahead.
Those of us who live and work in PennDOT's District 8 — Adams, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Lancaster, Lebanon, Perry and York counties — can look forward to some critical work finally being done. Major projects this summer include paving on routes 30 and 283, both heavily traveled arteries for trucks and passenger vehicles, as well as repair work on a number of secondary roads. Nineteen bridges in the eight counties are slated for work.
All told, as much as $122 million will be spent on these projects, much of it going to local contractors, subcontractors, suppliers and their workers. Those dollars are great news for the midstate economy apart from the long-term benefit of these much-needed projects.
So plan ahead — construction updates are readily available online — and try to focus on the positives as you sit in traffic waiting for the “go” sign in a construction zone. Think about the improved safety and appreciate the reduced wear and tear on your vehicle and your company's fleet. Look forward to more reliable delivery times and better cost-containment on shipping. Plan how your enterprise will grow as one more factor to improve the state's business climate is addressed.
Recognize those orange cones as a sign of progress for Pennsylvania and a promise of smoother travels for years to come.