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I-78 Lenhartsville Bridge Replacement Project

Project Description

The I-78 Lenhartsville Bridge was built in 1955 and was last rehabilitated in 1985. This bridge is in a rural setting and crosses Maiden Creek in Greenwich Township, Berks County. It also serves as an overpass to PA-143. The bridge carries 51,080 vehicles daily, approximately 30 percent of which is truck traffic.

The purpose of the I-78 Lenhartsville Bridge Replacement Project is to replace the existing bridge over Maiden Creek and PA-143 and widen it to accommodate the addition of auxiliary lanes and full inside and outside shoulders on I-78 in each direction. These modifications will provide a consistent typical section along the I-78 corridor.

The project is intended to address the substandard I-78 westbound deceleration and I-78 eastbound acceleration lane lengths to and from the PA-143 interchange.

Through the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) environmental review process, the I-78 Lenhartsville Bridge Replacement Project was approved as a Categorical Exclusion (CE) in 2019, and the project team has moved forward with final design and right-of-way acquisition.

PennDOT is reevaluating the CE for this project because it is one of several projects being evaluated as a candidate for bridge tolling. A bridge toll is a fee that drivers pay when passing a specific location, often by using a service like E-ZPass. The cost for the project is estimated at between $40 and $50 million. The funds received from the bridge toll will go back to the I-78 Lenhartsville Bridge project to pay for construction, maintenance and operation.

As part of the environmental reevaluation, PennDOT is analyzing how bridge tolling may impact local communities and how alternate routes drivers could take to avoid the toll may impact local traffic and roadways. When studies are completed in Spring 2021, we will present our findings for public review and comment in a virtual public meeting. During the meeting, the team will also share project details, such as engineering design, environmental impacts, construction schedule and maintenance and protection of traffic during construction.

The project is currently in final design. Construction is anticipated to begin between 2023 and 2025. During the meeting, the team will also share project details, such as engineering design, environmental impacts, construction schedule and maintenance and protection of traffic during construction.

To stay informed or to be added to the project mailing list, please complete the form at the bottom of this page. You may also submit your comments and feedback by using this form.

PennDOT Pathways Major Bridge P3 Initiative


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On November 12, 2020, PennDOT received the Pennsylvania P3 Board's approval of the Major Bridge P3 Initiative, which allows the use of the P3 delivery model for bridges in need of replacement or rehabilitation, and to consider tolls at these locations. P3, which stands for Public-Private Partnership, is a cooperative arrangement between two or more public and private sectors that involves government and businesses working together to complete a project that will serve the public. PennDOT's P3 Office develops innovative project delivery and financing models for a wide array of initiatives that are designed to strengthen and improve the state's transportation network.

Through the P3 model, PennDOT can leverage private investment to rebuild critical bridges during a period with historically low interest rates and a favorable labor market. This initiative can provide a dedicated source of revenue for these infrastructure improvements and could create significant savings over the life of the program while ensuring the vitality of the state's transportation system and economy.

Bridge tolling can provide the funds to repair or replace these costly bridges without using PennDOT's current funding, which in turn allows those funds to be used for other roadway maintenance, operations, and improvements. Tolling would be all electronic and collected by using E-ZPass or license plate billing. The funds received from the toll would go back to the bridge where the toll is collected to pay for the construction, maintenance, and operation of that bridge.

The candidate bridges being considered for tolling through the Major Bridge P3 Initiative were selected based on the following criteria:

  • interstate location
  • structure of substantial size and cost to replace or rehabilitate
  • warrants timely attention
  • maintains geographic balance
  • does not impact just one region or corridor
  • ability to begin construction in 2-4 years for the near-term benefit

In the coming years, PennDOT will evaluate these candidate bridges through individual environmental documents being prepared or re-evaluated for each bridge. More information on each individual bridge project, and when the public will have an opportunity to engage on those projects, can be found at www.penndot.gov/funding.

To support PennDOT Pathways, an alternative funding Planning and Environmental Linkages (PEL) study is underway to identify near- and long-term funding solutions and establish a methodology for their evaluation. One of the early findings of the PEL study is that tolling of major bridges in need of replacement or rehabilitation appears to be a viable near-term solution. To advance this funding alternative, PennDOT is pursuing the first initiative of the PennDOT Pathways Program: the Major Bridge P3 Initiative.

PennDOT Pathways is a program to identify and implement alternative funding solutions for Pennsylvania's transportation network. As Pennsylvania's mobility needs have grown, the amount of funding required to support our highway and bridges has continued to increase. PennDOT's current highway and bridge budget is about $6.9 billion per year. Although that's a lot of money, it's less than half of the $15 billion needed to keep Pennsylvania's highways and bridges in a state of good repair and address major bottlenecks on our roadway network. Much of PennDOT's current funding comes from gas taxes and driver and vehicle fees. While this model worked well in the past, circumstances today have made it unsustainable. With PennDOT Pathways, we're looking for reliable, future-focused funding solutions that will meet our growing needs while serving our communities. The PennDOT Pathways PEL study will evaluate additional alternative funding solutions and will be available for public comment in the spring of 2021.

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