Township mulls traffic pattern changes

August 11, 1998|By RICHARD F. BELISLE, Waynesboro

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Thirty years ago, Washington Township, Pa., officials began to think of ways to shift traffic around Pa. 16, which serves as Waynesboro's main street and the corridor through the township's commercial strip.

Relief routes, as Township Manager Michael Christopher prefers to call them, were included in the township's first master plan in 1968 and in the 1980s rewrite. They appear in the latest version that came out this year, which includes a third alternative.

About 20,000 vehicles pass over Pa. 16 in the township every day, Christopher said. While there are traffic jams during peak commuter hours, planners say they are not ready to start buying up rights-of-way.

Population boom

Washington Township's population grew from 4,674 people in 1950 to slightly more than 11,000 today. Growth has been steady over the decades, Christopher said.


The township needs to take a "broad brush" look at future traffic flow, he said. Relief routes could be built in segments as needs arise, he said.

The township couldn't afford to build without state and federal help, Christopher said.

The routes would be two-lane roads following existing roads wherever possible, said Jerry Zeigler, zoning enforcement officer for the township.

"They would be a lot like the East-West Highway in Hagerstown. That road moves a lot of traffic around the city and these roads would do the same," he said.

The relief routes were designed by Martin and Martin, a Chambersburg, Pa., engineering consulting firm. All three pass through some of the area's best farm country.

Christopher said the routes have been a source of concern to the property owners they would affect since the first two were drafted in the 1968 master plans.

The options

One route passes south of Pa. 16. It begins on Midvale Road east of Waynesboro, uses Welty Road for a stretch, then crosses Cold Spring Road before getting back on Pa. 16.

A more central route begins at Pen Mar Road, crosses Old Forge Road, North Welty Road, Country Club and Gehr roads, then Toms Town Road before linking up with Pa. 316. Traffic could reconnect with Pa. 16 via Prices Church Road.

The most northern route begins on Beartown Road, crosses Old Forge farther out and generally follows Mentzer Gap Road into Quincy Township.

The Quincy Township Supervisors have said, however, that they don't want it on their turf. Zeigler said the route will be pulled back across the line.

Christopher said planners want to create corridors now so they won't get boxed in by future development.

Developers are being asked to consider the routes when they design their projects, he said.

Zeigler said it would be cheaper to get rights-of-way agreements signed now rather than force owners to give up their land through imminent domain.

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