Pennsylvania roads are poorly designed

August 6, 2014

Does anyone, other than the Observer-Reporter and some politicians, really think the Pennsylvania Turnpike is wise and cautious when it comes to raising the speed limit? Has the turnpike commission’s conduct over the years provided confidence?

I think in 1953 the speed limit was lowered to 60 mph on the most winding section of the turnpike. But with no reduction in accidents, it was raised back to 70 mph. So now we are going to study raising the speed limit to 70 mph again. We should save money in our schools and delete history, for we never want to learn from past mistakes. Roads are made to get from one place to another as safely and quickly as possible. If safety is the main concern, then let the potholes prevail so the maximum speed is only 25 mph.

And while we are on the subject of roads, I have yet to see any road well designed in Pennsylvania, and the turnpike is no exception. I have to agree that the terrain can be daunting, but it is in West Virginia, and they have built some pretty good roads for one of the poorest states in the nation.

Take the road from New Stanton to Wheeling, W.Va. It is no more hilly than West Virginia or eastern Ohio, where the speed limit is 60 and 70 mph, but it looks like a drunken sailor riding a three-legged mule laid out the route. There are always accidents on it. It’s a disgrace.

And take Route 79 before Neville Island. There are winding curves there. How do they fix it? Just put up a sign to reduce the speed limit. Has it worked? Nope.

How about the Parkway West? They built the road ignoring the federal standards for interchanges. Then, when they wanted federal dollars to maintain them, they had to go back and change them at great cost.

And the latest debacle is the revised interchange on routes 70 and 19. Instead of just adding two elevated exit and approach ramps to go over Route 19, they are adding two red lights to a road and switching people over to the other side. I guess a couple of signs will fix this, too.

It seems like they never have the money to do it right the first time, but always enough to do it over.

And as far as studying speed limits, why is the speed limit on probably the straightest interstate in the area, Route 22 from Pittsburgh to Weirton, W.Va., only 55 mph? Once you get to Weirton, where the road has curves, the speed is 60 mph, and once you are in Ohio, it is 70 mph. I guess Ohio and West Virginia just didn’t do enough studies, like Pennsylvania does.

Tom Galownia



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