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22/renew Honored as Nation's Top "Quality" Highway Project

By Matthew McTish, P.E., McTish, Kunkel & Associates

Pennsylvania's "22/renew" Expressway Improvement Project in Lehigh and Northampton Counties has earned the 2001 National Achievement Award from the National Partnership for Highway Quality (NPHQ), which recognized the project for its design, teamwork, public information campaign, and innovative construction scheduling.

Partners in the project-who share award recognition-include the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, Designer: McTish, Kunkel & Associates in Allentown, PA, and Contractor: Lane Construction Corporation in Meriden, CT.

NPHQ includes federal and state highway officials and leaders in the highway construction industry. The National Award nomination process permits one entry from each state. In 2001, 26 states submitted a project for the award.

The $70 million 22/renew Project restored an eight-mile section of four-lane, limited-access urban expressway, including reconstruction and rehabilitation of the original (1954) concrete pavement, replacement of three bridges, rehabilitation of ten bridges, reconstruction of five interchanges and deployment of state-of-the-art Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) components, including Ramp Metering, Variable Message Signs, and Highway Advisory Radio.

Innovative construction scheduling and traffic management strategies developed by PENNDOT District 5-0 and McTish, Kunkel & Associates greatly reduced the project's impact on the region. These strategies included maintaining four traffic lanes through the work zone during peak traffic periods, compression of the construction schedule from three years to two years, and deployment of a "real?time" traffic control and motorist advisory system.

Through the planning and construction phases, a Citizens Advisory Committee was used to assess the needs of the local driving public and to create partnerships for sharing information with the community. Aggressive use of a public information and public involvement campaign featuring a project-specific Web site, newsletters, and more than 180,000 copies of a "22/renew Survival Guide" helped area businesses, schools, hospitals, and US 22 motorists negotiate the construction work zone. Incentive/disincentive contract provisions encouraged Lane Construction to finish 65 days ahead of the schedule for all work involving travel lane closures, earning Lane a $5 million bonus. Lane also earned a $107,000 bonus for producing a paved surface exceeding state and national standards for smoothness.

PENNDOT and McTish, Kunkel's Incident Management and Public Information programs for the 22/renew Project have been used as models for safe expressway reconstruction across the United States. In addition to receiving the Pennsylvania Partnership for Highway Quality (PPHQ) Award for Highest Quality Project Statewide and PPHQ awards for Congestion Management and Intelligent Transportation Systems, the 22/renew Public Information Campaign received the AASHTO Excel Awards for Best Public Information Campaign and Best Project Website. The project also has received the Honor Award for Engineering Excellence in Transportation from the Consulting Engineers Council of Pennsylvania and the ACPA National Award for Excellence in Concrete Pavement.

To receive more information about the 22/renew Project, please contact Matthew McTish, P.E., at 610-791-2700 or

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