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Pa. will explore connector road idea

February 14, 2001

Pa. will explore connector road idea



By STACEY DANZUSO / Staff Writer, Chambersburg


CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - The state has agreed to explore the idea of a connector road southwest of Chambersburg that would link U.S. 11 and U.S. 30 to relieve traffic congestion on the main arteries into the borough.

State Sen. Terry Punt, R-Waynesboro, said Wednesday the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has agreed to conduct a feasibility study of the bypass supported by local municipalities.

After three years of trying to get the feasibility study approved, the Transportation Committee of the Greater Chambersburg 21st Century Partnership approached Punt for help in November.

After the municipalities represented in the partnership submitted letters expressing support for the study, Punt approached now-retired U.S. Rep. Bud Shuster for federal aid during his last week in office.

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Shuster secured a $1 million commitment in federal funds for the project.

The study, which could begin this year, would identify whether there is a need for the road and possible corridors it would run through.

"This road would reduce the congestion in downtown Chambersburg and reduce the number of heavy trucks coming through Chambersburg," Punt said.

The study will cost about $250,000, and Punt said the remaining funds from the $1 million allocation are earmarked for recommendations and improvements that may result from the study.

State or local money must be generated for a $50,000 nonfederal match.

Punt said it will likely take six months to define the scope of the study and another six to 12 months to "justify the need for the connector road and potentially identify the corridor."

U.S. 30 currently is the main route to Interstate 81, the Chambers 5 Business Park and downtown Chambersburg, and with growth to the west of the borough, the roadway is jammed for miles during rush hour.

"This would create another outlet for east-west traffic flow. Route 30 is really the only route into Chambersburg," said David Sciamanna, president of the Greater Chambersburg Chamber of Commerce.

"Route 30 is completely bogged down. This would move more traffic more efficiently," he said.

Gene Gayman, chairman of the Transportation Committee for the Greater Chambersburg 21st Century Partnership, said he hopes a link between U.S. 11, south of Chambersburg, and U.S. 30, west of Chambersburg, would allow westbound traffic to bypass downtown.

He praised Punt's efforts, saying he "accomplished in three weeks what we had been trying to do for three years. It will be for the good for the entire community."

Franklin County Commissioners G. Warren Elliott and Cheryl Plummer saluted the dedication of the partnership, a group of local officials formed in 1989 to look at the impact of regional issues.

"In 1990, when I served as the first chairman of the partnership, the dream was to plan regionally and have municipalities cooperate in efforts. It's gratifying today to see both things happen," Elliott said.

"I think it proves when municipal officials sit down and examine common problems they are a powerful force," Plummer said.

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