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Engineers shed light on Pa. relief route

January 12, 2006|By JENNIFER FITCH

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - The Washington Township (Pa.) Supervisors hosted traffic planning engineers Wednesday to better explain how they developed impact fees imposed on developers building along a $14.3 million relief route to the north of Waynesboro.

The relief route, Washington Township Boulevard, is designed to alleviate traffic congestion on Pa. 16.

Sketches presented Wednesday show Washington Township Boulevard extending from just east of the intersection of Pa. 16 and Old Route 16 to Pa. 16 west of Waynesboro near Prices Church Road. It will intersect with both Pa. 997 and Pa. 316 to the north.

The first stage of the road, in the area of new Wal-Mart and Lowe's stores, has been constructed.

Documents provided to the public during Wednesday's meeting indicated most of the road, with one lane of travel in each direction, will be completed by 2014.

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Those documents said fees imposed on new development could fund about $12.6 million of the cost of Washington Township Boulevard.

The impact fees cost a developer $2,714 for each vehicle that uses the road during 4 to 6 p.m., said Chad Dixson of Traffic Planning and Design Inc. of Pottstown, Pa.

Impact fees are expected to generate between $1,055,666 and $1,266,799 a year for 10 to 12 years, according to a summary of funding.

Dixson said the traffic projections for new development came from a manual used as an industry standard.

Mention of a relief route first appeared in a 1960 comprehensive plan for Waynesboro. Washington Township commissioned a study by traffic engineers in 1992, according to Michael Christopher, township manager.

He said that study and a follow-up one in 2003 both showed the basic alignment in the current plans.

The township owns or has sale agreements for much of the land where the road is planned, Christopher said.

In the fall of 2005, the township borrowed $2.5 million from Pennsylvania Infrastructure Bank, which is associated with the state department of transportation. The 10-year loan has an interest rate of 3.375 percent, said Christopher.

That money will be used to construct the section of Washington Township Boulevard that connects Old Forge Road and Country Club Road, creating what Christopher called "a minor northeast bypass." A bridge is included in that section, he said.

Christopher explained that Washington Township Boulevard is designed to give local residents an alternate choice to traveling Pa. 16 through Waynesboro. Removing a number of personal vehicles from Pa. 16 would free it up for tractor-trailer traffic, he said.

"It's not about being a replacement for Route 16. It never was," Christopher said.

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