Project: Alternative Plan for the US 202 Section 700 Expressway,
Bucks County, Pennsylvania

Client: Neighbors for Bucks County Preservation,
Solebury Township, Pennsylvania

About the Project: The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is planning for the construction of a new expressway to alleviate congestion along US 202 in Buck County, PA. Several communities affected by the expressway are supporting an alternative plan to alleviate the congestion, an effort being coordinated by a non-profit organization, Neighbors for Bucks County Preservation. While traffic congestion along this section of US 202 is severe during peak hours, the long term implications for constructing the expressway may be increases in development pressure and traffic volumes. The expressway plan designed by the Pennsylvania DOT reflects an old plan to develop US 202 into an outer beltway around Philadelphia, a plan which may no longer be appropriate for a region that wishes to support its central city’s economic health.

SMI’s Role: The Alternative Plan developed by SMI looked at the entire project area’s transportation network for solutions. In some cases, our plan includes adding new streets to provide a more complete network of routes through the most congested areas. We also uncovered several opportunities to incorporate land use and conservation goals into the plan. Innovative intersection designs, including roundabouts, provide for greatly improved operations at some of the difficult intersections with high turning volumes. The proposed roundabouts are designed at a scale that will fit in with the surroundings, yet provide the needed capacity for future traffic with less pavement. Our plan improves upon the performance measures of the expressway in terms of level of service and environmental impacts, and the total cost of the project is estimated to be about one quarter of the new highway. Our plan also provides a much more attractive street system, will not encourage sprawl development, and will reduce costs to the taxpayers of Pennsylvania.

Current Status: The report describing the Alternative Plan for US 202 Section 700 has been broadly distributed to government agencies and officials. The report is currently under review for consideration as an alternative in the permitting processes underway.

Bill MacDowell
Neighbors for Bucks County Preservation
Bill Tinsman, Chair
Solebury Township Board of Supervisors