Drivers in for a long summer in Chambersburg area

June 14, 2005|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - A few of the traffic headaches caused by road construction for Exit 17 of Interstate 81 and the U.S. 30 widening project were alleviated in the past week, but Chambersburg-area motorists can expect a long, hot summer of construction delays.

"We got all the beams off the old Walker Road bridge Wednesday night, so we won't have any more rolling roadblocks," said Richard Shoemaker, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation project manager for both the Exit 17 and U.S. 30 projects.

The bridge is being removed to make room for the southbound off-ramp and northbound on-ramp for exit 17, Shoemaker said. While the bridge beams are gone, the bridge supports and approaches still have to be removed in the next two months, he said.


Work on the intersection of Franklin Farm Lane and U.S. 30 earlier this month, which required frequent stoppages to allow traffic onto U.S. 30 has been completed, Shoemaker said.

Unrelated to the interstate and U.S. 30 projects was a closure of a portion of Walker Road earlier this month by Chambersburg for work related to the extension of Norland Avenue. Walker Road reopened June 7, restoring one of the ways motorists use to bypass U.S. 30.

"Ten minutes after it opened, people were using it like it had never been closed," Shoemaker said.

School is also out, which he said should cut down on traffic coming onto U.S. 30 from Stouffer Avenue.

Still, Shoemaker said there is plenty of construction scheduled this summer from Stouffer Avenue east to Quarry Road, where contractor crews are removing the north side of U.S. 30 and replacing the road. That work is slightly behind schedule, but should be done in early July, he said.

When the north side is completed, crews will begin removing the south side of the road and replacing it with new lanes, Shoemaker said. That should be done by the end of August, he said.

Another lane will later be added to Stouffer Avenue at U.S. 30 on the south side of U.S. 30. Work continues this week on the Walker Road intersection on the north side, Shoemaker said.

"It hasn't been too bad for me," said Kelly Goshen, a Franklin County employee who works on Franklin Farm Lane. "It's a matter of knowing what roads to take on which days.

"I don't need to read about it, I drive through it," said Raymond Rotz of Chambersburg. "It'll be nice when it's done."

"I avoid it at all costs," Linda Elliott of Chambersburg said about U.S. 30 as she was shopping at The Butcher Shoppe on Stouffer Avenue. "Hopefully, the situation will be alleviated, but it looks like it will take some time ... It certainly plays havoc with getting around town."

U.S. 30 will be restricted to one lane at St. John's Drive from 8 p.m. Wednesday to 6 a.m. Thursday for the installation of a water main, according to PennDOT's weekly construction update. Weather permitting, the center lane of U.S. 30 will be closed for daylight work from Mower Road east to the entrance of Wal-Mart, according to PennDOT.

Other work this week includes paving the north side of U.S. 30 between Walker and Quarry Roads; curb and sidewalk installation in the same area; water main installation between Mower Road and St. John's Drive; storm drain installation at the Sunny Side Drive intersection; drilling operations for storm drains between M&S Motorcycles and Mower Road; and installation of permanent and temporary traffic signals, according to PennDOT.

Road repair and patching, along with frequent lane closures, will continue on I-81 south of Exit 16 for the next two months, Shoemaker said.

"We're not doing too bad considering the amount of vehicles that come through there every day," Shoemaker said.

Shoemaker said 32,000 vehicles use U.S. 30 each day in the area of Exit 16 and 38,000 vehicles - a third of them trucks - use the interstate in that area.

The $15.7 million Exit 17 project will be completed by this fall, Shoemaker said. The $27 million U.S. 30 widening project is scheduled for completion in the fall of 2006.

Norfolk Southern is improving the railroad crossing on Orchard Road this week, said Robert Wagner, Chambersburg's director of public works. While traffic may enter Orchard Road from either U.S. 11 or Wayne Avenue, southbound motorists on U.S. 11 will be detoured onto Derbyshire Street to get onto Wayne Avenue and northbound traffic will use Kriner Road, Wagner said.

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