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Truck lane to help move traffic on Pa. 16

August 24, 2002|by RICHARD BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

A loaded Washington Township dump truck was creeping up a mountain on Pa. 16 east of Waynesboro around 11:30 a.m. Friday followed by a dozen vehicles that were forced to follow the truck as it made its slow ascent to the top.

At the same time, a couple of dozen people stood in a gravel parking lot used by PennDOT to store its road salt and sand for winter use.

They were listening to state Sen. Terry Punt, R-Waynesboro, who announced that a new $4.4 million truck passing lane on the road would be finished in November 2003 that will bring an end to scenes like the one passing by on its way up the mountain.

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The lane has been in the planning stages for 12 years.

"This has been a long time coming," said Punt, who led the effort to raise the money.

The new truck lane is one of several projects recommended in a 1992 state study of the Pa. 16 corridor, which runs west from Blue Ridge Summit, through Waynesboro, Greencastle and Mercersburg and ends in McConnellsburg in Fulton County.

Motorists heading from Waynesboro to Blue Ridge Summit climb a grade ranging from 6 percent to 11 percent before reaching the top. Slow-moving trucks often prompt impatient drivers to pass in no-passing zones.

The new lane will begin near Red Run Park and run for 2.1 miles up the mountain to Charmian Road in Blue Ridge Summit.

It will add 12 feet to the existing road on its south side plus 5 new feet of shoulder. The storm drainage system will be improved and new guardrails will be installed, said Barry Hoffman, regional engineer for the PennDOT district that includes Franklin County.

More than 40 property owners along the road gave rights of way so the lane could be built. Among them are Michaux State Forest, the Appalachian Trail and the Beartown Woods Natural Area, Hoffman said.

Valley Quarries, Inc., of Chambersburg, Pa., was the low bidder for the project.

It will take 40,000 tons of blacktop and 20,000-plus tons of cracked stone, plus require moving more than 64,000 cubic feet of dirt to construct the lane. Five miles of drainage pipe and 2.1 miles of new guardrails will be installed.

During construction, traffic will be maintained through lane shifts and lane-width restrictions.

Projects completed in recent years to improve the corridor included repaving sections of Pa. 16 in the Borough of Waynesboro and Washington Township, widening and building turn lanes in Washington and Antrim townships and new traffic signals at several intersections.

The final project will be the replacement of all of the traffic signals on Pa. 16 through Waynesboro.

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