NEW STANTON, PA - The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) held a ribbon-cutting ceremony this month to mark the opening of a truck stop electrification facility at its New Stanton Service Plaza off the westbound lanes of I-76 in Westmoreland County.
The truck stop electrification (TSE) facility, developed by CabAire LLC in Enfield, Conn., comprises towers equipped with modules that fit into truck cab windows to provide heat, air conditioning, Internet, TV and electrical power to trucks and other diesel-powered vehicles while the engine is shut off.
The TSE facility was constructed to assist truckers, as well as other operators of diesel-powered vehicles, in complying with state regulations that make it illegal for motor vehicles over five tons to idle engines while parked at rest stops. The Diesel Powered Motor Vehicle Idling Act, passed in October of 2008, went into effect in January 2009.
Cost to use a truck stop electrification module will be about the same as a gallon of diesel fuel per hour. CabAire has agreed to provide the service free of charge for 30 days, from June 4 to July 4.
"We are incredibly proud to have constructed this facility -- presently the only one of its kind in the state -- on the Pennsylvania Turnpike," said Turnpike CEO Joe Brimmeier. "This TSE is designed to help reduce pollution and land-development impacts to the neighborhoods surrounding our travel plaza, and it's just one of several steps we're taking to provide a greener environment."
In the past decade, the PTC has sought to become a more "earth-friendly" organization. For instance, it was among the first toll-road agencies nationally to purchase and use wind-generated power and to adopt a broad alternative-fuels program for its fleet.
"Our renovated headquarters was one of the first 'green' state-office buildings in the commonwealth," Brimmeier added. "And today, we're looking to partner with a private firm to build and operate a renewable-energy generation facility, such as a solar or wind farm, on a 90-acre, Turnpike-owned parcel in Bedford County."
The New Stanton Service Plaza is located in one of the busiest truck corridors on the Turnpike. About 17,500 total vehicles a day travel the westbound Pennsylvania Turnpike between Donegal and New Stanton. Of that, 33 percent (or 5,800 vehicles) are trucks -- one of the highest concentrations of truck traffic on the entire toll-road system.
Funding was provided by the State Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) via a State Clean Diesel Grant through an allocation from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The DEP award of $478,396 covered the construction cost of the TSE.
CabAire LLC, a subsidiary of Control Module Industries, was selected for the project after a competitive bidding process initiated by the PTC. CabAire will provide the equipment and operate and maintain the TSE for 10 years.
HMSHost Corp. and Sunoco Inc., the Turnpike's service-plaza partners, will provide on-site support. In addition, the Group Against Smog and Pollution (GASP) has been contracted by the DEP to educate the public about the new law, to assist truckers in compliance and publicize health risks caused by idling diesel motors. Michael Baker Jr. Inc. was the construction manager and Clark Construction Inc. was the contractor for the TSE.