By Tony Romeo

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) – The Pennsylvania Turnpike has hired a construction management firm to oversee the widening of a section of the highway west of Valley Forge, but actual construction won’t begin for another year.

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Pennsylvania Turnpike spokesman Carl DeFebo says this is the next step in the widening of the Turnpike in the Philadelphia area which is moving in stages from east to west.

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“The section from the Delaware River Bridge to the Valley Forge Interchange is already all six lanes,” DeFebo explains. “And now we’ve been focusing on the design, for the past several years, of the Turnpike from Valley Forge west to the Downingtown Interchange.”

DeFebo says the Turnpike Commission has held public events to get input on design and he emphasizes that work on the Valley Forge to Downingtown widening, which will also involve complete replacement of existing road, won’t actually begin until next summer.

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The cost of the project is almost half a billion dollars. The first phase of the project, a six mile stretch just west of Valley Forge, will be completed in late 2017.