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Truck lane planned for Pa. 16 stretch

March 12, 2002|BY RICHARD F. BELISLE

BLUE RIDGE SUMMIT, Pa. - Anyone who travels Pa. 16 east from Waynesboro, Pa., to Blue Ridge Summit knows the frustration of following a big truck up the mountain.

If all goes as planned a new truck lane could open on that mountainous stretch in 2003, State Sen. Terry Punt, R-Waynesboro, said.

Punt helped to secure some of the $5.4 million that it will cost to build the new lane. The money will come from a combination of state and federal funds, Punt said.

"There are times when there's 20 or more vehicles following a big truck up that mountain," Punt said Monday. "I have personally counted as many as 23 vehicles following a truck up the mountain."

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"Not only is it inconvenient for motorists, but it also creates a dangerous situation when an impatient driver pulls out to pass a truck on a double yellow line," he said.

"This has been an ongoing project for seven years," Punt said.

He said he expects bids to go out for the work in late April. A contract could be awarded by summer and construction could begin later this year with completion next year, he said.

The truck lane would start at the lake at Red Run Park in Rouzerville, Pa., and run to the top of the mountain on the south side of Pa. 16 East, Punt said.

Greg Penny, spokesman for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, said the state already owns most of the land on the side of the roadway it needs to build the truck lane so negotiating with property owners for rights-of-way won't be a problem.

The truck lane is part of a continuous upgrade of Pa. 16 in and around the borough of Waynesboro and Washington Township, he said.

Among projects are a new synchronized traffic signal system through Waynesboro. The project has been held up because one plan includes changes to Waynesboro's center square, which some residents oppose.

Other recent Pa. 16 improvements include repaving stretches of the roadway, which serves as Waynesboro's main street, realignment of the road near Waynesboro Hospital, adding a turn lane at Old Forge Road and new traffic signals in Washington Township.

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