Turnpike interchange on Welsh Road being considered
UPPER DUBLIN » Residents filed into the Fort Washington firehouse Sept. 20 to get a glimpse of the future — the possibility of a slip ramp on Welsh Road at Computer Drive.
The proposed transportation improvement is one of seven identified as part of a Montgomery County 2015 Turnpike Corridor Reinvestment Project.
The Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission is studying two of the proposed new interchanges — Henderson Road in Upper Merion Township and Welsh Road in Upper Dublin Township, according to a project overview. The construction of new interchanges at the two locations would increase Turnpike access for many communities, supporting the revitalization of business parks in these two locations, it says.
Transportation engineers from the DVRPC staffed display stations and answered questions at an open house to provide information and solicit input for a PA Turnpike Interchange Study on the impact of a proposed Welsh Road interchange.
The purpose of the study is to determine the potential traffic impact of the interchange on local traffic, identify areas where traffic congestion might increase due to the slip ramp and make recommendations to ease traffic congestion on local roads.
The study will evaluate existing traffic conditions, the impact of population, employment and new development growth by 2045 and compare traffic projections with and without the proposed eastbound/westbound slip ramp, DVRC transportation engineer Camden Palvino said.
Construction of the shopping center at Welsh and Dreshertown roads, the new 55-and-up development across the street from it, the one planned adjacent to it and other development planned in nearby Horsham will be taken into account, officials said.
A report will be issued in the fall of 2019 on “what would happen either way, not whether it’s a good or bad idea, but what can be done to fix it [traffic congestion],” Palvino said.
The current Turnpike traffic in the study area is about 115,000 vehicles/ day, Upper Dublin Township Manager Paul Leonard said. The open house was “a meeting about studies,” he said.
Actual construction of the Welsh Road interchange would not occur for seven to eight years at the earliest, Leonard said, noting there is no funding for the project.
The proposed interchange, which would provide connections to I-276, is “all on Prudential property,” and though currently designed as a roundabout, “the design could change,” said Jack Smyth, an engineering consultant working on the project with the DVRPC.
The bridge over the railroad and the bridge over the Turnpike would be widened as part of the project, he said.
“It takes a full lot off,” said Michael Yanoff, an attorney for Prudential, which has its headquarters at Welsh and Blair Mill roads. The insurance company is not for or against the project at this point, he said, but is just “looking at it step by step.”
Only two of the seven Turnpike projects identified by the county are funded — Ridge Pike in Norristown and a zip ramp from the Fort Washington Turnpike interchange onto Commerce Drive in the office park, Smyth said. “The other five are not funded.
“The Montgomery County Planning Commission identified the Turnpike as underserved,” he said. “It’s more of a commuter road here, and [the county] wants more connectivity to destination centers.”
Next year, a supplemental study will look at the potential impact of the proposed interchange on traffic “from a daily perspective at peak hour” on Welsh Road from Jarrettown to Fitzwatertown, the intersections with Dresher and Blair Mill roads and Route 611 and the Dresher triangle, Smyth said.
Additional information is available at dvrpc.org/ Corridors/PATurnpike/ pdf/1984_WelshRdPresentation.pdf.
This map shows the proposed location of a Turnpike interchange on Welsh Road in Upper Dublin.