Three More PA TurnpikeTravel Plazas SoonTo Close For Rebuild
Three more Pennsylvania Turnpike travel plazas are set to close in the coming days; they will be razed and rebuilt as part of a nine-year project to modernize all such facilities along the highway. Two of the three plazas – Plainfield and Blue Mountain – closed at 7 a.m. on Sept. 6. The third, South Somerset, will shut down at 7 a.m. on Sept. 12. (It will remain open to accommodate visitors to the Flight 93 Memorial dedication on Sept. 10-11 in Shanksville, Pa.) All three facilities are scheduled to reopen in May 2012 – in time to welcome Memorial Day travelers.
The Plainfield Travel Plaza, at milepost 219 in Cumberland County, serves eastbound travelers and is located about seven miles west of the Carlisle Exit (No. 226); the Blue Mountain Travel Plaza, at milepost 202 in Cumberland County, serves westbound travelers andis located about one mile east of the Blue Mountain Exit (No. 201); and the South Somerset Travel Plaza, at milepost 112 in Somerset County, serves eastbound travelers and is located about two miles east of the Somerset Exit (No. 110).
Flashing signs and other messages near the three travel plazas have been in place along the Turnpike to notify motorists of the shut downs.
The new plazas will feature roomier layouts and food-court style dining areas with more food choices. They will have larger, brighter, touch-free restrooms, enhanced parking, outdoor dining, landscaped grounds with pet areas, new fueling stations and a convenience store.
The renovations are made possible by a 30-year, publicprivate initiative launched in 2006 when the Turnpike entered into an agreement with Bethesda, Md.-based HMS Host Corp. and Sunoco Inc. of Philadelphia. HMS Host Corp.committed $100 million to rebuild 17 plazas, and Sunoco is investing $70 million to restore the service stations and convenience stores. So far, nine Turnpike plazas have been renewed in the last five years:
Allentown (Lehigh County)
Bowmansville (Lancaster County)
Hickory Run ( Carbon County)
King of Prussia (Montgomery County)
Lawn (Dauphin County)
NewStanton (Westmoreland County)
North Somerset (Somerset County)
Oakmont ( Allegheny County)
Sideling Hill ( Fulton County)
All work to revamp the remaining original travelplazas is expected to be finished by spring 2014. Customers can download a free Service Plaza reference booklet from the Pa. Turnpike’s Web site at www.paturnpike.com.