Preliminary work rolling on U.S. 30

June 26, 2003|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Crews are out digging up the roadway and moving utility poles, but it's all just part of the preliminaries to the widening of U.S. 30 between Chambersburg and Fayetteville, Pa., a project that will not begin until next year, according to Pennsylvania Department of Transportation spokesman Greg Penny.

"Originally, we thought we'd be under construction between Walker Road and Fayetteville this year," Penny said Tuesday.

The work of the design consultants, however, has taken longer than anticipated, he said. Penny said the department also has to resolve an issue with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection over how best to manage stormwater runoff from the highway into Falling Spring.

The bid opening for the $23 million construction project had been set for late August, but has been pushed back to October, he said. It typically takes about two more months for the state to award the contract, Penny said.


"I started it 14 years ago and I'm thrilled we are soon going to see the light," state Sen. Terry Punt, R-Franklin, said of the project, which will widen the road from three to five lanes along a 3.7-mile section known for its congestion during peak traffic hours.

"I'll be very happy once a contract is signed, then nothing can stop it," Punt said. "It's going to make such an enormous change to that stretch," he said.

In addition to numerous studies on the project's impact on traffic and the environment and the design and engineering work, there was the issue of obtaining right-of-way agreements for nearly 150 properties along the route, Punt said. All of those have been resolved, according to Penny.

Tuesday, a hydrahammer, essentially a huge, vehicle-mounted jack hammer, pounded away at limestone just under the asphalt in the parking lot of Roadsters Diner at the intersection of U.S. 30 and Stouffer Avenue. A crew from Henkels and McCoy of York was using the machine to chip through about 7 feet of stone to move underground cable for Sprint.

"Sprint is moving overhead lines on 90 poles and three miles of underground cable," spokeswoman Yvonne Butts-Mitchell said. She said about 60 more utilities poles along the stretch owned by Allegheny Power also have to be moved farther out of the right of way for the road work.

The work around Stouffer Avenue should be wrapped up in about a week, according to Butts-Mitchell. Crews are also working along the shoulders of U.S. 30 near Mower Road and that work will require some changes in traffic patterns beginning about July 7 to allow crews to access utilities under the road surface.

The work near Mower should be done by the end of July, Butts-Mitchell said. More work farther east at Ragged Edge Road will be done in August, she said. Sprint began planning for the utility relocation about a year ago and work started in late April.

"It's a long, drawn-out process," Punt said of transportation projects. He said he began the legislative end of improving Pa. 16 in the southern part of the county nine years ago and it is still a year from completion.

A truck climbing lane east of Waynesboro will be completed in November and a traffic signal modernization for seven intersections in Waynesboro and Washington Township should be completed in 2004, according to Punt.

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