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Turnpike Interchange Is Open

Governor Corbett cut the ribbon in a ceremony Tuesday afternoon.

The new Pennsylvania Turnpike interchange opened Tuesday in East Whiteland, after more than a decade of planning and nearly two years of construction. 

Governor Tom Corbett cut the ribbon on the new interchange, flanked by local politicians, turnpike officials and business leaders. The midday ceremony followed a reception at the new Endo Health Solutions building on Atwater Drive, next to the new interchange.

Corbett said that, though not everyone understood the importance of the new interchange when the project was first announced, the results will serve as a model for similar projects throughout the state.

"When people can view, because of this interchange, additional growth and prosperity down the road, it's a message … about how transportation can intersect with prosperity throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania," Corbett said.

The new interchange is the turnpike's first "all-access," all-electronic interchange. All-access, or four-way, means that it connects both directions of the turnpike, which is I-76 in Chester County, to both directions of Route 29, aka North Morehall Road. All-electronic means that toll payments will require E-ZPass transponders; cash will not be accepted.

The new interchange is designated as Interchange 320, sitting midway between the Downingtown and Valley Forge exits. According to the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, the 14-mile stretch between those two exits is the heaviest traveled of any four-lane section on the east-west turnpike mainline, carrying an average of 50,000 vehicles per day. The new Route 29 interchange is expected to ease congestion at those adjacent interchanges, as well as on local secondary roads.

"This project was started in 1999. It's completely toll-funded; no tax dollars were involved in the construction of this facility," acting PTC chief Craig Shuey said before the ribbon-cutting.

State Rep. Duane Milne said that the new interchange would cut 23 minutes off his commute to Harrisburg.

State Sen. Andy Dinniman said the life science industry is going through a global restructuring, and that local transportation infrastructure improvements help to support it.

Dave Holveck, outgoing CEO of Endo Health Solutions—which will soon relocate to East Whiteland from Chadds Ford—said he was ecstatic about the slip ramp opening next to his company's new world headquarters.

"It's not just about us as a company. It's the region; it's what it means to people, growth," Holveck said. "And most importantly, the life science industry that's housed here in this particular region is going to get another boost in terms of its ability to bring innovation and value not only to the region but to the population at large."

Vehicles were using the new turnpike ramps less than an hour after the ribbon had been cut.

Randi J. Vladimer December 11, 2012 at 08:49 PM
I understand that the politicians think that this is great for business, but as a homeowner living in the area, it is an eyesore. I wonder how many of these elected officials live in the area effected. The additional turnpike noise that this has created by clearing the land is making houses in the area harder to sell and now all you see instead of trees and fields is concrete.
Greg December 11, 2012 at 10:07 PM
I'm curious about this myself. I don't recall seeing anything about dealing with the noise issue in the planning of this. If they don't have plans to deal with that, this idea is going to backfire in a large way for the businesses that this project is hoping to help.
Sabastian December 12, 2012 at 11:39 AM
Jobs mean revenue- more revenue into communities means less property taxes to your quiet homes. I'm pleased to see Democrats and Republicans actually working together to bring jobs here.
A mom December 12, 2012 at 01:52 PM
This thing is such a hot topic. Like Randi since I live in the area I'm directly affected by the increase in traffic and noise, so I hate the slip ramp. The other thing was when the slip ramp was presented, the TP commission kept saying it wouldn't increase traffic from the Charelstown area, it would only alleviate the traffic in KOP & on 202. But now they're widening the intersection at 29/Phoenixville Pike/Charlestown road due to the increase traffic volume for the ramp. I really hate the fact that this was all done to accommodate commuters without regard to the residents who deal with it every day.
Butch Beals December 12, 2012 at 02:29 PM
Randi, Greg and Mom, you are not alone in your concerns. I believe it is safe to say that those politicians taking advantage of the photo ops do not live in your area. The area where this ramp is located is already inundated with traffic, and very little consideration was given to the surrounding neighborhood. You will notice that this ramp was not located in any other area within the "mainline" area. There seems to be a growing consensus regarding development in the Malvern area. You may want to check out the recent article relative to the King Street and Old Lincoln Highway developments in the Malvern area. We, has a community, must become more involved before the entire community is engulfed with these types of developments.
A mom December 12, 2012 at 03:23 PM
Butch - I was just reading Kristin's article about the King St project and recently heard about the development at the corner of 30 & Old Lincoln. I thing the biggest problem with all of these projects is when they're presented it's a nice simple little project which some people are ok with and others aren't, but then it's a bait & switch to when the project is underway. All of the sudden it becomes - oh we're going to do this too or change this slightly & it becomes a monster. By that time it's too late to do anything about it. For example there's a small subdivision who had no idea they were going to be impacted until they started work on a drainage ditch because it wasn't on the plans but added later.
Tom Fox December 12, 2012 at 03:40 PM
Please also read comments in this patch article = East Whiteland Turnpike Ramps to Open Dec. 11.
Tom Fox December 12, 2012 at 04:14 PM
Sebastian, since you seem..?. to live in WEGO (previous posting), the impact of all these developments is far from you, but you can enjoy the benefits. EWT residents, on the other hand, have many new developments, posed as progress by EWT officials, to put up with (turnpike slipramp, uptown Worthington - and new major residential development there to come, cubesmart, etc). The small pittance of tax relief will not make up for these major inconveniences to the community and destruction of the environment (ie cubesmart tree destruction). We need to get the residents out and voice our opinions at the EWT supervisors meetings. (Sadly No Sebastian) Then get the supervisors to slow down development. EWT is the only place where developers seem to have all the say and zoning means nothing. Take the Cubesmart property on rt 30 and old Lincoln, it's still zoned on the township map as of today as residential R3, yet no notice was given to the residents until EWT wanted to change the parking "plan" last spring... and as of last week, has there been a new plan filing with the county??? I think not, but the construction is well under way. I'll try to upload the zoning map to patch above, but check out EWT zoning site while it is still up. The R3 area mentioned is in the lower right hand of the map area. Thank you for reading everyone.
Tom Fox December 12, 2012 at 05:17 PM
Robert Knuckles also commented on Offices, Self-Storage Coming to Route 30 and Old Lincoln Highway. "I keep coming back to the fact that East Whiteland can and does violate and change its own zoning. They are doing it on rt. 30 and Old Lincoln, they are doing it in the Chester Valley Knoll neighborhood in order to install a connection to the CV trail, and they will continue to do it when it suits their needs. From reading the Patch, it appears that there are many people upset with East Whiteland politics and township operations. Those of you who are upset...know that you are not alone. Please come out to the Supervisors Meetings and make your voices heard! There is a meeting tonight @7PM!!"
Butch Beals December 13, 2012 at 03:43 PM
My sentiments exactly!
Butch Beals December 13, 2012 at 03:45 PM
Not to mention the replacement of the East Whiteland Theater with another car dealership.
Butch Beals December 13, 2012 at 03:47 PM
Realizing it's too late for the projects currently under development but, could these types of developments be stopped via a voter referendum on the ballot?
Tom Fox December 13, 2012 at 04:19 PM
Butch, Great idea, how do we convince city hall?
Tom Fox December 13, 2012 at 04:21 PM
Butch, regarding the car dealership comment below, I believe that was on the supvr's agenda last night for public hearing. My former business partner was there but he had to leave before that so who knows.
Tim Caban December 13, 2012 at 05:41 PM
I thought everyone might be interested to see what was there before the slip ramp. Below is a link to the documentation that Penn Dot did of the old house that was torn down to build the slip ramp. They did an archaeological dig among other things. http://www.paturnpike.com/constructionprojects/r29ramp/docs/Turslip2JosephDocument.pdf

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