U.S. 202 - 700
ROUTE 611 TO ROUTE 463 (WELSH ROAD)
The nine mile-long U.S. 202 Parkway was built between Route 63 (Welsh Road) in Montgomery Township and Route 611 in Doylestown Township to provide traffic relief for motorists travelling on the former U.S. 202 and other nearby roads.
The Parkway was built on a new alignment in a corridor situated between Upper State Road and Stump Road, passing through sections of Montgomery, Warrington and Doylestown townships.
The Parkway is four-lanes wide between Route 63 (Welsh Road) and Route 463 (Horsham Road), and two lanes wide from Route 463 (Horsham Road) to the Route 611 Interchange. The roadway widens to include left and right turn lanes at signalized intersections. The speed limit is 40 mph and the Parkway is open to commercial vehicles.
A 12-foot wide shared-use path (SUP) with two-foot wide grass shoulders runs the length of the Parkway to serve pedestrians, bicyclists and other non-motorized modes of transportation. Five trailhead parking facilities are located adjacent to the Parkway at Knapp Road, Route 309, County Line Road, Bristol Road, and New Britain Road.
Five-foot-wide paved shoulders on each side of the Parkway function as bicycle lanes. Bridges carry the Parkway over Route 309, Almshouse Road and New Britain Road. The Parkway passes under Pickertown Road and Wells Road overpasses. A four-span crossing of the Neshaminy Creek minimizes impacts to this waterway and its floodplain.
Eleven culverts at waterways and wetlands were built, including crossings with natural bottoms where feasible. Storm water management basins, bioretention sites and other water quality Best Management Practices (BMP) were included to mitigate storm runoff and ensure minimal impact on the environment.
The road’s location was selected to minimize impacts to existing woodlands and other sensitive environmental areas. Trees and other plantings were added along the roadway and shared used path to help the facility blend into these existing areas. As part of the project’s landscaping plans, berms, with plantings, were added to provide a visual barrier and a measure of sound reduction. The Parkway’s at-grade intersections also were landscaped using native plantings.
ACCESSING THE PARKWAY
The Parkway is accessible from its southern terminus interchange near the intersection of U.S. 202 (DeKalb Pike) and Route 63 (Welsh Road), and at the northern end at an interchange with Route 611.
Additional access also is provided at Route 309 via two new connectors: A two-lane road located northwest of the Parkway for Route 309 motorists going north or south on the Parkway; and a single lane ramp for Route 309 north motorists heading north on the Parkway.
Route 309 motorists also may use Knapp Road to access the Parkway at a signalized intersection. Other signalized intersections provide entry to and exit from the Parkway at Costco Drive, Route 463 (Horsham Road), County Line Road, Route 152 (Limekiln Pike), Bristol Road, and Lower State Road.
Additional improvements completed at intersecting roads help move traffic to and from the Parkway. Limekiln Pike (Route 152) was widened to five lanes approaching the Parkway, and left turn lanes were constructed on Upper State Road at the nearby intersection with Limekiln Pike (Route 152). Similar upgrades were made on Bristol Road from just east of the Parkway to just west of Upper State Road. These improvements included widening Bristol Road to five lanes in the area of the Parkway, and to three-lanes between the Parkway and Upper State Road.
U.S. 202 (roads formerly signed U.S. U.S. 202 between PA 63 and PA 611 revert back to their local names)
TOTAL PROJECT COST:
$200 million (includes construction, design, right-of-way acquisition, utility relocation)
100 percent state
Dec. 3, 2012
4 between Route 63 and Route 463; 2 between Route 463 and Route 611
TONS OF ASPHALT:
Five feet asphalt and 3 feet stabilized ground
5-foot-wide asphalt shoulders
12-foot-wide Shared Use Path
Hill International, Inc., Montgomeryville, Montgomery County
CONTRACTORS: J.D. Eckman, Inc., Atglen, Chester County; Blooming Glen Contractors, Inc., Blooming Glen, Bucks County; James D. Morrissey, Inc., Philadelphia; Bruce & Merrilees Electric Company, New Castle, Pa.; KC Construction Company, Ivyland, Bucks County; Road-Con, Inc., West Chester, Chester County; Reading Site Contractors, Inc., Pottstown, Montgomery County.
There also are left turn lanes on Upper State Road at the Bristol Road intersection, where improvements extend 500 feet north and south of Bristol Road. At the Parkway’s intersection with Lower State Road, improvements were made on Lower State Road from just west of the intersection through the Wells Road intersection to the east. Improvements on Wells Road under the Parkway extend from Radcliffe Drive to Vale View Drive. The Parkway’s northern terminus at existing U.S. 202/Route 611 in Doylestown provides connections via a cloverleaf interchange.
Landscaping was a major part of the design of the U.S. 202 Parkway. The road’s location was selected to minimize impacts to existing woodlands and other sensitive environmental areas. Trees and other plantings were added along the Parkway and its shared used path to help the road blend into these existing areas. As part of the landscaping plan, berms, with plantings, were added to provide a visual barrier and a measure of sound reduction. The Parkway’s at-grade intersections were landscaped using native plantings.
The construction of the Parkway had some effect on on existing wetlands. To mitigate these unavoidable impacts, PennDOT created new wetlands and enhanced existing wetlands at an off-site location.
A site along the Little Neshaminy Creek, north of County Line Road and west of Kansas Road in Bucks County, was selected as the wetland mitigation site for the entire U.S. 202 Parkway. This site was chosen due to its existing wetlands and the availability of adjacent land that was used for creating new wetlands to enhance the overall function of the entire wetland site.
RE-DESIGNATING U.S. 202
In 2007, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation coordinated with federal and state agencies to obtain approval to relocate the existing U.S. 202 route designation to the new 202 Parkway from just south of Route 63 (Welsh Road) to the Route 611 Interchange in Montgomery and Bucks counties. Existing streets previously signed as U.S. 202 between Route 63 and Route 611 reverted back to their local street names. No street addresses including street names or numbers were changed with the re-designation.
A shared-use trail is located along the entire nine-mile length of the U.S. 202 Parkway. This paved, 12-foot wide trail provides a non-motorized transportation and recreational facility for walkers, runners, skaters, and cyclists.
This new trail enhances the region’s pedestrian and cycling network by connecting the growing system of trails in Montgomery and Bucks counties. With the opening of the U.S. 202 Parkway trail t, people of all ages ride, walk or jog between Montgomeryville and Doylestown – and all points in between – on a secure, off-road facility designed specifically for non-motorized travel.
Facilities Number of Parking Spaces
Knapp Road 31
Route 309 70
Stump Road near County Line 50
Bristol Road 51
New Britain Road 53
Distances Between Trailhead Parking Facilities
Knapp Rd to Route 309 .75 miles
Route 309 to County Line Rd 2.75 miles
County Line Rd to Bristol Road 2.5 miles
Bristol Road to New Britain Road 2.5 miles
The U.S. 202 Parkway’s shared-use trail enhances the quality-of-life for connected communities by:
• Preserving and creating open spaces.
• Encouraging physical fitness and healthy lifestyles.
• Creating new opportunities for outdoor recreation and non-motorized transportation.
• Protecting the environment by providing an option to motorized travel and the negative effect of tailpipe emissions.
Extending the Connections Connecting the trail to places trail-users want to go was an important aspect of the design of the shared-use trail. The U.S. 202 Parkway trail has access points – or trailheads – with ample free parking. They are located at:
• Knapp Road.
• Route 309.
• Stump Road near County Line Road.
• Bristol Road.
• New Britain Road.
Additional connection points were made to communities along the way, linking the trail to existing sidewalks, trails, and accessible commercial areas. With landscaping along the U.S. 202 Parkway providing an aesthetically pleasing backdrop, PennDOT designed the shared-use trail with a buffer zone between it and the roadway. In some areas, a fence separates one or both sides of the trail from the Parkway, adjacent waterways or steep side slopes. The trail is located adjacent to the Parkway in a few areas to minimize negative environmental impacts to streams, wetlands and other sensitive areas
The trail also shares space on several of Parkway bridges that cross side roads, streams and other challenging terrain. In these locations a concrete barrier separates the trail from the road.
The U.S. 202 Parkway shared-use trail helps create a sense of community by providing close-to-home recreational areas, public gathering spots, and educational opportunities that a natural setting offers. It is a valuable transportation asset for the citizens in Montgomery and Bucks counties.
During the design phase of the U.S. 202-700 Parkway, noise analyses were conducted across the project area. Findings from the noise studies, which were coordinated with the public, were presented and discussed at a number of meetings held in communities along the Parkway’s path. As a result, specific design features were added, including the use of earth berms to help reduce sound levels in the areas adjacent to the roadway.
The 1960s: Concept
U.S. 202 between the Delaware River in Bucks County and the Schuylkill River in Montgomery County was envisioned by the Pennsylvania Department of Highways in 1964 as an outer-ring expressway through the Philadelphia region that would connect to expressways at either end.
The 1980s: Progress
While the plan for an outer-ring expressway never materialized, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) looked to improve the 59-mile long U.S. 202 Corridor between the Delaware and New Jersey state lines. The corridor was divided into eight distinct regional highway sections. Some sections of U.S. 202 had been through some degree of planning, and several had realized improvements in line with the originally conceived scope and scale. Plans for other sections were subsequently down-sized or abandoned due to community opposition, environmental impacts, and funding constraints. As the decade neared its completion, U.S. 202’s eight regional sections evolved to fit the specific needs of the communities along its path.
For the section of U.S. 202 from Montgomeryville to Doylestown (Section 700), communities along the proposed alignment supported an expressway or bypass concept and worked with developers and residents to reserve substantial right-of-way along the planned route.
The 1990s: Study
Options for relieving traffic congestion on U.S. 202, Section 700 were examined through an Environmental Impact Statement process. Based on this analysis and public consultation, a four-lane expressway or bypass was chosen as the Locally Preferred Alternative for improving U.S. 202 between Montgomeryville and Doylestown. The choice of this alternative generated significant opposition from communities located east of Doylestown, whose residents were concerned about traffic and development impacts resulting from construction of an expressway. This opposition led to lawsuits challenging the project, which were eventually decided in favor of allowing the project to proceed. PennDOT received final Environmental Impact Statement approval in August 1998. Final engineering design of a four-lane expressway began in November 1998.
2004: A New Solution
With final design in progress for U.S. 202, Section 700, there remained community support for and opposition against the planned bypass. Concurrently, Pennsylvania was experiencing a $6 billion shortfall for highway maintenance and improvement of existing roads. This funding shortfall resulted in the stoppage and re-evaluation of several major projects across the state, including U.S. 202, Section 700.
April 2004: PennDOT officially put the U.S. 202, Section 700 project on hold; however, the Department ordered an immediate re-evaluation of Section 700, with the goal of developing a new solution that was affordable and reflected the context of the community while enhancing mobility along its nearly nine-mile path.
2005: The Parkway
February 2005: Following an intense period of work by both PennDOT and its consultant team, a new U.S. 202 Parkway concept was presented to elected officials and municipal representatives within Section 700. Initial reaction to the proposed U.S. 202 Parkway concept by municipal and elected officials was generally positive, but it was clear that additional consultation was necessary to refine the concept and move the plan forward.
April 2005: PennDOT appointed the U.S. 202, Section 700 Community Task Force, which was comprised of municipal representatives from within the study area; planners from the two counties and region; municipal, state and federal elected officials from the study area; and PennDOT. The goal of the Task Force was to work collaboratively, with the help of PennDOT’s consultant team, to further develop and refine the initial Parkway concept into one that all U.S. 202, Section 700 Task Force members could support.
September 2005: The U.S. 202, Section 700 Task Force presented a report for a Recommended Parkway Concept for public consideration and comment. That month the U.S. 202, Section 700 Task Force unanimously approved the Parkway concept.
October-November 2005: PennDOT held three public open house meetings to present the U.S. 202 Parkway concept to citizens in Montgomery and Bucks counties.
December 2005: PennDOT initiated the U.S. 202 Parkway project development process (environmental analysis, preliminary engineering and final design).
2006: Public Involvement
September 2006: A public open house was held to give citizens the opportunity to discuss and ask questions of the proposed design of the U.S. 202, Section 700 Parkway project. The public input and comments received at the meeting were used to complete the Environmental Evaluation Report (EER), which was made available for public review in December 2006. The EER described existing social, economic, cultural and natural resources in the project area, benefits and impacts of the Parkway project, and the Department’s commitment to mitigate impacts associated with the Parkway.
2007: Environmental Evaluation Report
February 2007: PennDOT held a public hearing to give citizens an opportunity to testify or provide written comments on the effects of the Parkway project. PennDOT used the testimony and comments to determine the course of further development for the project.
April 2007: The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania approved the EER, a major step in the process to move the Parkway project forward.
May 2007: PennDOT received approval from American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) to relocate the U.S. 202 designation from its current route to the Parkway. The Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) also approved the addition of the Parkway to the National Highway System (NHS). PennDOT worked throughout
Frequently Asked Questions
Why was the new U.S. 202 built as a Parkway and not an expressway?
The U.S. 202 Section 700 Corridor was originally conceived as a limited access, four-lane expressway. However, as planning for this new nine-mile expressway progressed, the original $225 million estimated cost escalated to $465 million. With commitments for transportation improvements increasing across the state, PennDOT in 2004 determined that its projected funding would be insufficient to complete all its planned projects. U.S. 202, Section 700, along with dozens of other projects, was reevaluated.
How did the U.S. 202 Parkway concept materialize?
A 2004 study reexamined the transportation needs along Section 700. In early 2005, PennDOT presented the “Parkway concept” to elected and municipal representatives in Bucks and Montgomery counties. Subsequent coordination and input from project stakeholders further refined the concept and produced a Community Task Force Report in September 2005 that identified the “Parkway concept” as an affordable solution to improving travel along the corridor. The concept was presented to the adjacent communities at a series of public meetings later that year to generally-favorable public reviews. PennDOT then began designing the Parkway in December 2005.
What was the role of the Community Task Force?
Established in early 2005, the Task Force included representatives from the 11 affected municipalities, Montgomery and Bucks County Planning Commissions, state elected officials, the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, the state Department of Environmental Resources and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Charged with developing the “Parkway concept”, the Task Force held an intensive three-day workshop in June 2005 to lay out a conceptual alignment for a new, largely at-grade highway and identify key elements of its development. The Task Force then met monthly until the project was fully under construction to assist in working out the details and resolving specific issues that arose.
Why does the Parkway have two lanes in some areas and four lanes in others?
The “Parkway concept” initially called for construction of one travel lane in each direction through an 8.4 mile corridor that was mostly residential. However, as the project moved through the development phase, it was determined that four lanes were needed to adequately serve the commercial area between Route 63 and Route 463 in Montgomery County.
How were the Parkway’s intersections and other entry/exit points determined?
Traffic studies conducted during the project’s development showed that 90 percent of trips in the corridor were local, with traffic originating at and heading to several intersections along the corridor. Signalized intersections providing connections with these key roads were then included in the design.
Why intersections instead of roundabouts?
PennDOT, working with the municipalities, evaluated the feasibility of incorporating roundabouts into the design. But technical analysis, along with lack of community support of the concept, eliminated the inclusion of roundabouts for the Parkway.
Why are there no sound walls along the Parkway?
Aware of potential concerns about rising noise levels generated by the Parkway, PennDOT evaluated potential sound level impacts and determined that sound walls were not warranted. However, to offset possible noise level increases, a number of “context sensitive” steps were taken for the benefit of those living near the new roadway.
As much as possible, the new road was moved away from homes and depressed in a number of areas. Existing trees and vegetation were kept where possible, and earth berms -- which can have greater sound reduction benefits than concrete sound walls of the same height -- were built between the road and residences where feasible.
What about the geometry of the Parkway?
The design criteria established by the U.S. 202 Parkway Task Force called for the road’s geometry to be flexible to minimize or avoid impacts to wetlands. By definition, a Parkway is a scenic road with trees, one that respects existing topography and integrates with its natural surroundings. Curves along the roadway help control traveling speeds by shortening the driver’s focal length and increasing driver alertness.
Was landscaping part of the Parkway project?
Landscaping is a major component of the U.S. 202 Parkway. The road’s location was selected to minimize impacts to existing woodlands and other sensitive environmental areas. In addition, thousands of trees and other plantings were incorporated along the road and shared-use path to help the Parkway blend with its surroundings and provide a visual barrier between it and residences.
How was the location of the shared-use path developed?
The design of the shared-use path demonstrates a balance between safety, environmental impacts and community input. PennDOT worked with Montgomery, Warrington and Doylestown townships and environmental review agencies to increase the buffer between the road and the shared-use path to, where possible, avoid wooded areas, minimize impacts to natural resources, and avoid conflicts with other project features and constraints.
Why is there a bicycle lane on the Parkway in addition to the shared-use path?
The painted bicycle lane gives bicyclists the option of traveling at higher speeds than would be possible on a path used by pedestrians, runners and those traveling at a slower pace. During the planning phase, bicycle enthusiasts expressed interest in riding with traffic rather than on the trail.
Why is guide rail only located at certain area of the Parkway and not along the entire shared-use path?
Guide rail installed along the Parkway meets PennDOT’s and nationally-accepted design criteria that takes into account speeds, traffic volumes and the existence of obstruction-free “clear zones” that allow motorists to regain control of the vehicle. In areas where the shared-use path is located outside this clear zone, fencing was installed to provide the appearance of additional separation. In areas where the shared-use path is within the clear zone, guide rail or barrier separates the road from the path.
What is meant by the Parkway’s “context sensitive” design?
Context sensitive incorporates design features that allow the Parkway to blend in with its natural surroundings. Landscaped berms that fit the area’s suburban and rural nature were constructed where feasible to provide visual and sound benefits. Stone form liners stained to match native stone of Montgomery and Bucks counties cover virtually every exposed piece of concrete, including bridges, culverts, retaining walls and roadway barriers. Also found on the new road are weathered steel guiderail, wooden sign posts and black traffic signal poles, signal heads and controller boxes. fFencing is located next to the shared-use path and around storm water basins.
Can the Parkway be widened in the future?
Any future proposal to widen the Parkway would first have to be approved by local municipalities and PennDOT. The proposal would then need to be approved by the Delaware Valle Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) for placement as a “candidate project” on PennDOT’s long-range plan for funding for an environmental assessment -- the first of many steps that could lead to the design of a widening project.
Who can adjust the timing of the new traffic signals for the Parkway to give more time to cross streets?
PennDOT and the townships monitored traffic conditions on the Parkway for several months after opening and then adjusted traffic signals as needed. Keep in mind, however, that the traffic signals are “adaptive”, meaning that their green-yellow-red cycles are activated by sensors that read the amount of traffic stopped at any given intersection and change accordingly. Future maintenance and adjustments to the Parkway’s traffic signals -- as is the case with most traffic signals in Pennsylvania -- are responsibilities of the municipalities in which they are located.
Who is responsible for maintaining the Parkway, the plantings and the multi-use trail?
PennDOT maintenance forces in Bucks and Montgomery counties will maintain the roadway, bridges, medians and shoulders. The roadsides and medians will be mowed as part of PennDOT’s annual mowing program, where a private firm is contracted to mow these areas twice during the growing seasons. The individual townships will maintain the trail and some of the planted areas.
Who will clear snow from the Parkway?
Snow removal will be handled by PennDOT’s Bucks County and Montgomery County maintenance forces.
Will the multi-use trail be cleared of snow and ice?
There are no provisions for clearing snow and ice from the trail, but municipal crews may perform this work if time and resources permit.
Many drivers seem to ignore the posted 40 mph speed limit.
What can be done about that?
Enforcement of speed limits and other traffic laws is the responsibility of each municipal police department. Please contact the appropriate township with your concerns.
Can the use of truck “jake brakes” be prohibited on the Parkway?
In order to prohibit the use of engine brake retarders (commonly referred to as “jake brakes”), a municipality must first obtain the permission of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) through a written request. If the request is approved, the municipality must subsequently enact an ordinance, as well as procure, erect and maintain the required signing. The municipality is responsible for enforcing the engine brake retarder ordinance.
The Engine Brake Retarder Prohibition Policy can be found in PennDOT’s Traffic Engineering Manual (Pub 46).
Why do some Parkway intersections have No Turn on Red signs?
At multiple locations throughout Parkway project area, it was necessary for the shared-use path to change sides to minimize environmental impacts. These changes occur at intersections to ensure the safety of shared-use path users. The No Turn on Red signs allows adequate time for pedestrians/shared-use path users to safely cross the intersection before traffic begins to move.