As Congress debates the costs and benefits of funding national infrastructure improvements, the rest of us go about the business of earning a living, paying our taxes. Those Chester County Residents that travel the Route 30 By-Pass and Route 202 during their daily commute or others that use those highways during their work day have noticed some much-welcomed improvements in travel times. On August 3rd the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation opened 2.5 miles of U.S. 202 to six lanes between the Route 401 (Conestoga Road) and U.S. 30 interchanges in East Whiteland Township, substantially completing construction on a $63.3 million improvement project that began in April 2013. This 2.5-mile section, combined with the four-mile section, opened to six lanes from the Route 252 Interchange to the Route 401 Interchange in September 2014, costing 105.4 million, has significantly improved traffic flows along that portion of the Route 202 corridor.
A friend recently related to me that his daily commute from western Chester County to the King Of Prussia Area has shortened by 20 minutes each way. A look at the PennDOT Traffic Volume Map published in 2016 shows an annual average daily traffic volume along Route 202 through East Whiteland Township to be 71,000 vehicles and through Tredyffrin Township 75,000 vehicles.
Doing some quick math and making some rough assumptions reveals some interesting items. Assuming: an average daily volume of 73,000 vehicles a day; and 75% of those are using the road during rush hour, and of those each wasted conservatively 15 minutes each way on their daily commute over the five years of the reconstruction project. That equals 17.8 million hours lost over the 5-year span of the project, or conversely, on a positive note 3.6 million hours saved per year over the usable lifespan of that stretch of highway. Another way to look at it is that the time saved equates to the working hours of 1,710 people per year. Now this is obviously not a scientific analysis, but it does point out that in the end investments in infrastructure can boost efficiency which saves time. And whether that time is spent increasing the productivity of the economy or pursuing quality time with family and loved ones; I would suggest it is a worthwhile benefit.
So enjoy the rest of your summer and make the most of that newfound time.