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PennDOT SR 0015 - Section C41

Wetlands and water quality are front and center of PennDOT’s SR 0014 C41 upgrade initiative.
  • Traversing mountainous terrain, the project runs parallel to Steam Valley Run and Trout Run-Gannett Fleming

    Traversing mountainous terrain, the project runs parallel to Steam Valley Run and Trout Run.

  • SR 0015 Section C41 was upgraded to a four-lane, limited-access highway-Gannett Fleming

    Significant upgrades transformed SR 0015 Section C41 into a more safe and modern roadway.

Client
Pennsylvania Department of Transportation
Location
Steam Valley, Pennsylvania
Our Role
Prime Environmental Consultant.
Data
Size:
9.8 miles
Construction Cost:
$60 million
Completed:
2010
Duration:
7 years
Outcomes
  • Roadway safety, congestion, and noise concerns mitigated with new, modern upgrades
  • Improved spill prevention and containment protects high-quality stream habitats
  • Wetland and stream impacts allayed by avoidance, minimization, and restoration.

Since the early 1990s, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), District 3-0, had been converting SR 0015 from a largely two-lane arterial to a four-lane, limited-access highway to provide a safe and modern roadway with minimal impacts to adjacent residences and businesses. The design and construction of Section C41, a 9.8-mile stretch in Lycoming County, marked the final upgrade in the program.  The project included upgrades to the horizontal and vertical alignments, design of two interchanges, and elimination of several existing access points along the corridor. Other aspects included the design of several local roadways, three bridges, one conspan arch, one retaining wall, and several box culverts.  

 Significant provision for the environment was front and center of this critical transportation initiative. Gannett Fleming’s environmental team was charged with resolving challenges to achieve regulatory compliance from start to finish, including all phases of preliminary design, final design, and construction. Close coordination with PennDOT, as well as local, state, and federal regulatory personnel, was required to solve complex environmental issues related to trout habitats, stream channel morphology, wetland functions, and stormwater management. When finished, the SR 0015 Section C41 project left behind more than improved transportation infrastructure. It also left behind a net increase of important environmental benefits.

What We Did

To complete the required stream assessment work, Gannett Fleming asked the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission to join its team in the field. Together, Gannett Fleming and the Commission employed the U.S. EPA’s Rapid Bioassessment Protocols and documented the conditions of lotic habitat, water quality, macroinvertebrates, and finfish in several high-quality mountain streams. To ensure compliance with state and federal wetland protection regulations, Gannett Fleming delineated wetlands and developed alternatives to avoid and minimize impacts to those resources. In the permitting phase during final design, the team successfully negotiated a resolution to the wetland and stream impacts. Approximately 1,600 linear feet of stream habitat was restored directly adjacent to the new highway. An additional stream restoration project was built in coordination with PennDOT and other agencies, including the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.  

Innovative design solutions were used for stormwater management and water quality. The new southbound alignment was moved uphill from the existing roadway, and the existing pavement was removed, recycled, and used in the new paving. The old roadway alignment was converted into a linear stormwater best management practice (BMP). The linear BMP was a stepped slope with small earthen dikes every 100 feet. The linear BMP now collects runoff from the new highway, and the dikes pond the water to let it cool and encourage filtration. As a result, thermal and water quality impacts to the headwaters of Lycoming Creek, which has a history of flooding, were avoided or minimized.

Key Features

  • More than 1,600 LF of high-quality headwater trout streams restored
  • Innovative stormwater control facility constructed in the footprint of the old highway
  • Net increase of environmental benefits achieved through highway facility upgrades.

Sustainability Features & Outcomes

  • Existing roadway and pavement repurposed for the new paving
  • Stormwater design mitigates thermal and water quality impacts to Lycoming Creek
  • Roadway design allows for riparian buffers of native vegetation
  • Relocated stream channel design to simulate existing stream 
  • Box culverts provide safe passage for wildlife.

Awards & Recognition

  • #1 Road, 2011, Roads & Bridges magazine, Top 10 Roads.

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