Politico.com’s Morning Transportation staff is polling readers on the most annoying behavior they encounter on public transportation. I cast my ballot for loud, oblivious cell phone use, although playing loud music on tinny, cheap earphones that can be heard by all nearby comes in a close second. You can vote at http://poll.fm/46r2m. In a previous poll that attracted 10,000 votes, 81 percent said they oppose allowing heavier trucks on the road. These polls can be amusing but are completely unscientific.
State Sen. John Rafferty will hold an 11 a.m. news conference Tuesday regarding his proposal for transportation funding. Mr. Rafferty, R-Montgomery, who chairs the Transportation Committee, is expected to offer a plan bigger than the one proposed by Gov. Tom Corbett in his budget message. He may follow the recommendations of the governor's Transportation Funding Advisory Commission, which called for increases in license and registration fees along with uncapping the tax on gasoline wholesalers.
It’s National Work Zone Awareness Week. Jason Koss, director of industry relations for the Constructors Association of Western Pennsylvania, reminds us that four out of five work zone fatalities are motorists or passengers rather than construction workers. The association sponsored a children’s coloring contest, and participants came up with these catch phrases: “Obey the signs or pay the fines.” “Stay off your phone in the construction zone.” “On the road, don’t text and drive, you make the choice to be dead or alive.”
Several years ago, I collaborated with KDKA-TV’s Paul Martino on a report about work zone speeding: not surprisingly, we found it to be rampant. Gov. Tom Corbett’s Transportation Funding Advisory Commission has recommended automated speed enforcement cameras in work zones, a proposal that would require approval by the Legislature. The cameras have been used in work zones in Maryland since October 2009 and photograph the license plates of cars exceeding the posted speed limit by 12 mph or more. Maryland officials say the number of citations issued has gone down by 80 percent since the program’s debut.
The good news is that work zone crashes and fatalities have been declining for several years. But there were 1,812 crashes, 21 deaths and 1,315 injuries in Pennsylvania work zones in 2011, suggesting that more could be done to get us to slow down. Only one of those killed was a construction worker.
East Carson Street will be closed between Becks Run Road and Glass Run Road from 7 p.m. Friday through 6 a.m. Monday to allow demolition of Pennsylvania American Water’s Becks Run pumping station. It was replaced as part of a $101 million upgrade of water infrastructure. Traffic will be detoured via the Hot Metal Bridge, Second Avenue and the Glenwood Bridge.
Route 88 will be closed between Churchill and Clifton roads in Bethel Park for bridge repairs this weekend. Crews will repair damage to a concrete parapet caused by a vehicle collision. The road will close from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Traffic will be detoured via Berryman Avenue, Stewart Road and Brownsville Road.
The Wabash Tunnel is now closed to all traffic. Port Authority finally was able to secure the equipment needed to repair the traffic control system. The tunnel has been open only to outbound traffic since a truck damaged it on Oct. 22. Repairs are expected to take three to four weeks.
The Pennsylvania Turnpike will “pace” traffic at 25 mph using police vehicles between Butler Valley and Allegheny Valley starting at 11:59 p.m. Tuesday and concluding by 3 a.m. Wednesday to allow demolition of a portion of the Rich Hill Road bridge over the turnpike at mile 46.3. Two separate 20-minute paces are scheduled.
If you missed it, read up on Washington Road construction in Mt. Lebanon here. It starts tonight. Take a glance back at previous posts for more information about what's down the road.
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